Sony’s new flagship 8K TV makes its 4K TVs look ludicrously cheap

Sony has just announced the release date and pricing for its flagship 8K televisions and if you were hoping for a bank holiday bargain then look away now. The all-new ZH8 8K HDR Full Array LED TV range will arrive in (online) stores from early next month and if you want to take delivery of one it will set you back at least £5,999 – that’s for the 75-inch model.

If you fancy something a little bigger in your living room then you’ll need even more cash in the bank with the 85-inch ZH8 costing £8,999 – ouch!

Of course, for your money, you’re getting the best viewing experience Sony has ever created with the ZH8 featuring some pretty impressive specs.

There’s that stunning screen which not only shows content in 8K quality but can also upscale footage filmed in 2K or 4K to make it look as if it were shot in glorious 8K.

The ZH8 TVs incorporate Sony’s premium Full Array Local Dimming and Boosting technology. This 8K TV precisely balances light output across the screen to ensure scenes are full of breath-taking contrast.

Full Array LED provides more realistic contrast with Sony boasting that the results offer a dramatic increase in contrast and brightness so darker scenes get more intense and brighter scenes get clearer.


  • Samsung’s all-new 4K TV changes the way you can watch television

If it’s audio that’s important to you then Sony also has this covered with the ZH8 8K arriving equipped with the firm’s signature Acoustic Multi-Audio, which includes a vibrating frame tweeter – a speaker that enables sound to follow the action for a more immersive experience.

Independent amps are also controlled separately to precisely manage sound positioning of this speaker in high tone areas, enhancing sound pressure and stability for more realism.

Combined this with its minimalist one slate design and thin bezel, Sony says its ZH8 TV allows total immersion in entertainment without distraction.

Another piece of good news is that the ZH8 is ready for the next generation of gaming consoles. That’s because it will support 8K 60fps as well as 4K 120fps high frame rate – making them ideal for anyone wanting the best gaming experience.

The new ZH8 TVs continue to deliver the creator’s intent with Netflix Calibrated Mode. This option was specially developed to enjoy Netflix originals and reproduce the same picture quality on a TV as on a high-quality studio display. With Netflix Calibrated Mode switched on, viewers will see the creator’s vision and how they wanted things to look on the big screen.

Finally, to help give owners the picture all of the time, the ZH8 8K arrives with Ambient Optimization, a new technology that optimises picture and sound quality in any environment.

This means the TV will automatically adjust the picture brightness to the ambient light in the room, boosting the brightness in bright rooms and reducing in dark rooms. It even detects objects, such as curtains and furniture that can absorb or reflect sound, fine-tuning the acoustics so your sound isn’t compromised.

If £8,999 sounds a little too much for your bank balance then Sony has also just announced the release of its 4K TVs.

On sale soon is Sony’s XH90 which starts from £1,299 and there’s also the entry-level XH80 with prices for that TV £649.

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Kärcher is giving away a useful free gift with some of its popular garden gadgets

If you’re planning on tidying up your garden this weekend, Kärcher is offering a very useful bonus when you buy some of their popular tools. The German firm recently revealed a swathe of new battery-powered gadgets that’ll enable you to cut the grass or trim back the hedge without running a cable to the plug.

To help keep you gardening a little bit longer, Kärcher is currently giving away a free battery when purchasing a number of different devices.

The free gift, which is worth up to £99.99 is available on the firm’s lawn mower, lawn trimmer, hedge trimmer battery set or WD 1 wet and dry outdoor vacuum. For each lawn mower purchased, customers will be eligible to claim a 5.0Ah battery worth £99.99 and for the lawn trimmer, hedge trimmer and WD 1 customers will be eligible to claim a 2.5Ah battery worth £69.99.

Kärcher says that its Battery Universe range gives outdoor enthusiasts the ultimate freedom when tackling jobs including trimming, pruning and mowing in the garden.

Each product in the 18V range is compatible with one versatile, interchangeable battery (available in 2.5Ah or 5.0Ah) and features an LED display, which accurately displays remaining charge time or remaining run time – so that users are never caught out mid-task.

The range features six new products – a lawnmower, lawn trimmer, hedge trimmer, grass and shrubshears, chainsaw and tree lopper – and the battery is also compatible with the already popular WD 1 wet and dry outdoor vacuum, which comes complete with accessories to clean car interiors and a blower function to dislodge dirt in hard -to-reach areas.

On the launch of the Battery Universe range, Lauren King, Marketing Communications Manager at Kärcher said: “We’re really excited to be extending our cordless product offering even further. We have been working to offer the best battery technology to our customers, which should make tackling labour-intensive tasks in the garden faster and easier so they can spend longer enjoying their outside spaces.”

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Mum leaves the internet in stitches after microwaving lemons

When a cleaning hack fails: Mother tempting to clean her microwave with lemons ends up burning the plate after leaving out one crucial step

  • A woman attempted to clean her microwave using the lemon in water trick 
  • Though she missed the vital step of placing chopped lemons in a bowl of water 
  • As a result the citrus became heavily burnt and she made more of a mess  
  • She entertained others by sharing the failed attempt to a Facebook group  
  • When done correctly, the helpful hack allows for easy microwave cleaning

A woman has left the internet laughing after attempting to clean her microwave using the popular lemon in water trick.

The cleaning hack involves placing a chopped lemon in a bowl filled with water or vinegar, then placing in the microwave for one minute.

But the woman missed the vital step of putting the citrus fruit in water, which resulted in heavily burnt lemons and more mess to clean up. 

A woman attempted to clean her microwave using the popular lemon in water trick but missed the vital step of placing the lemons in a bowl of water, which resulted in a mess (pictured)

‘Not that I use the microwave much anyway, but the hack “Clean by microwaving a lemon” did not work for me,’ she said on Facebook and shared an image.

Others part of the Mums Who Cook, Clean and Organise Australian Facebook group were shocked and asked several questions in the comments.

‘You are joking right? I sure hope so!’ one said, another added: ‘Did you not smell it burning?’

‘Sorry I’m laughing – I did mine today so it’s made my day,’ another said.

Others simply reiterated the instructions, but the woman quickly realised what she did wrong.

‘You definitely will have more success putting the lemon in a bowl of water,’ another mum advised.

When done correctly, the helpful hack allows for easy cleaning and leaves the microwave smelling fresh.

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Windows 10: Microsoft issues urgent warning that users will regret ignoring

Microsoft has issued an important warning to users of its Windows 10 operating system – both personal and enterprise editions. The warning comes courtesy of the US company’s Security Intelligence team, which posted a message on social media telling Windows users to be aware of a new threat arriving via torrent downloads.

With millions of people in lockdown, it’s no surprise there has been a rise in the number of people trying to find ways to keep entertained – not to mention that watching content online without paying for a subscription is always going to be a popular option. However, along with the obvious legal issues of using torrent-style sites to get content to watch in lockdown, it seems there’s another reason to be wary of downloading files from unofficial websites.

According to the alert from Microsoft posted on Twitter, there’s been a rise in attacks using certain streaming services with Windows 10 users placing themselves at risk by downloading files in this way. The post states: “With lockdown still in place in many parts of the world, attackers are paying attention to the increase in use of pirate streaming services and torrent downloads.

“We saw an active coin miner campaign that inserts a malicious VBScript into ZIP files posing as movie downloads. The use of torrent downloads is consistent with our observation that attackers are repurposing old techniques to take advantage of the current crisis.”


  • And now MORE Windows 10 users are urged to abandon Google Chrome

It may come as no surprise that cyber criminals are trying to cash in during the current crisis and it seems those using torrents sites are an easy target. Explaining more, Tanmay Ganacharya, director of security research of Microsoft Threat Protection told Cyberscoop: “Lots of people are stuck at home looking to fill time, and not everyone is going to watch only what’s available through [streaming] services.”

Adding: “Attackers use some popular movies as lures. And then they ensure that their malicious payload is part of the overall packages that a user ends up downloading.”

According to Microsoft’s latest findings, John Wick 3 and Contagion are some of the most popular movies being downloaded by users. And it is these popular Hollywood blockbusters that are being targeted.

As confirmed by Cyberscoop, typical attacks begin with criminals disguising a malicious file in the same .zip folder that includes a movie torrent. When an unsuspecting victim happens to open the .zip file saved from a piracy site, they also trigger a malicious text file. This then sets about trying to infect dangerous code into the machine’s memory.

Although torrent sites remain hugely popular, there’s always a risk and to be safe it’s always recommended sticking to official streaming and download sites.

“It is not surprising that people are searching for more illicit ways to get their hands on new content – but downloading or streaming from dodgy sites is still as risky as ever,” said Jake Moore, Cybersecurity Specialist at ESET.

“These sites are rarely policed and they are very good at circumnavigating law enforcement attempts to shut them down. It is a clear and simple message that these sites must be avoided and aren’t worth the risk. It may sound free and easy at first but the truth is that using pirate sites could damage your computer and cost you more than the price of the movie itself in no time at all.

“Antivirus software is your best ammunition here – and any warnings when entering such sites must never be overruled.”

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WhatsApp update DOUBLES the maximum number of people in a video call

WhatsApp has announced a huge boost for its built-in video calling feature. That should make the chat app, which is currently the most popular messaging service worldwide with more than two billion unique users, a more viable alternative to the likes of Zoom, Houseparty, FaceTime and Skype for conference calls, or catch-ups with friends and family.

Available on both iPhone and Android, the new update will allow eight people to chat simultaneously on the same call. Of course, WhatsApp is still lagging behind some of its rivals, including Google Duo (supports 12 in a single call), FaceTime (supports 32) and Zoom (up to 500 with its priciest add-on). However, it brings WhatsApp in-line with Houseparty, which has exactly the same call limit.

As before, all video calls in WhatsApp are secured with end-to-end encryption so no one else can view or listen to your private conversation – not even WhatsApp itself.

The new update couldn’t have come at a better time. As millions stay home in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus across the world, video call apps have become increasingly popular as a way to stay in touch with friends and family members.

WhatsApp now restricts the messages you send as part of important new changes

Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, has introduced a new cross-platform solution, known as Messenger Rooms, which lets you bring in contacts from across a range of Facebook-owned messaging services, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, and more. 

For those who want to chat with much, much more than eight people in a single call, Messenger Rooms will allow up to 50 people to chat simultaneously. This all-new video call feature makes it easy to drop-in and drop-out and chat with up to 50 people.


  • WhatsApp is expanding its update to help with the coronavirus outbreak

Facebook users can control who joins and sees the room as well as use augmented reality filters, customised backgrounds à la Zoom, as well as lighting effects to boost their video calls. These expansive Messenger Rooms can be created inside Messenger or the main Facebook app or website.

And soon, Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Portal owners will be able to kickstart these expansive messaging rooms too. Best of all, you can invite anyone to join – even if they don’t have a Facebook.

It’s clear that Facebook is looking to quash the success of the likes of Zoom, Houseparty and others. And with the colossal number of users already signed-up to either Facebook, WhatsApp or Instagram – it could soon become the go-to option for people looking to chat with friends or family during lockdown.

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OnePlus 8 Pro revealed: 5G, 120Hz display and superfast performance comes at a price

OnePlus has unleashed its latest batch of smartphones. And just like last year, the Shenzhen-based company has revealed two flavours of its OnePlus 8 series – the standard model and the pricier Pro variant. These are successors to the OnePlus 7T and OnePlus 7T Pro, which debuted some six months ago.

Despite only a short amount of time passing between the last refresh of its smartphone portfolio, OnePlus has made some pretty substantial changes to the formula. Of course, if you treated yourself to a new smartphone from the company after the OnePlus 7T series launch back in October, there’s not enough here to make it worth enduring the hassle of trading-in your current handset and upgrading. However, if you’re got a OnePlus 6 or older and have resisted upgrading for the last few years, there’s a lot here to make a switch to the OnePlus 8 series seriously worthwhile.

First up, let’s talk about what the OnePlus 8 and the OnePlus 8 Pro have in common.

Both of these handsets are 5G-compatible, so you’ll be able to take advantage of the fastest mobile speeds around. And 5G isn’t just about speed either. The next-generation mobile technology means you’ll get reliable speeds in really crowded locations – like a gig or a football match.

Even if your carrier doesn’t already offer 5G right now, it’s worth buying a 5G-ready handset is you’re planning to hold onto your smartphone for the next two or three years. Last year, the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G was the first 5G-compatible handset to launch in the UK. And now the company, which first launched back in 2014, has made history as the first in the industry to release a full line-up of 5G devices in 2020.

Given the £100 premium that rival Samsung charges to upgrade from 4G-only to a 5G-ready model of its newly-launched flagship Galaxy S20 line-up – and the fact that Apple has yet to embrace the superfast network technology with its best-selling iPhone range, this could be a huge advantage for OnePlus.

Elsewhere, both the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro are powered by the top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset coupled with the Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System to enable the multi-gigabit 5G connectivity. Both models can be paired with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM. Considering that’s more than most laptops, we’d expect both of these smartphones to boast some eye-wateringly fast speeds.

Both the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro ship with either 128GB or 256GB of storage. There’s also no provision for expandable memory either. So those hoping to be able to carry around 1.5TB of local storage in their pocket – like Samsung allows with its maxed-out Galaxy S20 Ultra – will be disappointed.

Thankfully, there are plenty of low-cost cloud storage options available. In fact, the OnePlus 8 series marks the start of a new partnership between OnePlus and Google to bring Google One – the Californian technology company’s signature membership program – to the new handsets.

If you’re not aware, Google One provides expanded storage across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos, as well as automatic phone backup to the cloud – like you’d get with Google’s own Pixel line of smartphone. With Google One, OnePlus owners will be able to keep their photos, contacts and more within the cloud. All OnePlus 8 models will ship with a three-month free trial of 100GB of cloud storage.

Owners of previous OnePlus models will be eligible for a one-month free trial.

OnePlus has also brought IP68 water and dust resistance to its new handsets. Until now, the Shenzhen-based firm has always resisted the industry recognised test – arguing that the certification costs too much money and that it’d rather pass on the savings directly to customers. However, based on feedback from its fans, OnePlus has now opted for an official IP rating for its waterproofing.

Both the OnePlus 8 and the 8 Pro are also the first phones from the company to include handsfree access to Alexa. Of course, since the OxygenOS mobile operating system found on the handset is built on Android, you can still use the Google Assistant to switch on your smart bulbs, order takeaway, reply to texts and find out the latest headlines and weather – but OnePlus owners can now also download the Alexa app, grant the right permissions and ask Amazon’s rival AI assistant to make phone calls, control smart home gadgets, access the complete suite of Alexa skills.

In the coming months, OnePlus will launch new capabilities that let customers use Alexa to start a Zen Mode session and cast their phones to TVs. If you’ve already got a home brimming with Amazon Echo smart speakers and Fire TV dongles plugged into the TVs, this is a huge deal.

And now, onto the differences between the two models…

OnePlus 8 Pro price, release date, specs, features

After bringing its slick 90Hz high-refresh rate displays to the entire line-up with the OnePlus 7T series, the company has upped the ante with its new Pro model and included a 120Hz AMOLED screen. That’s twice the refresh rate you’ll find on most standard smartphones – from the Pixel 4 to the iPhone 11 Pro – and means system animations, video games, and scrolling around the web should feel more responsive and smooth.

At 6.78-inches, this is a pretty hefty screen size. It’s only a fraction bigger than the OnePlus 7 Pro, so if you had no qualms about the thumb gymnastics required on that phone to reach certain parts of the screen – you should be fine.

Coupled with the maximum 1,300-nits brightness and the colour accuracy achieved by the team at OnePlus, the display has already earned an impressive A+ grade from DisplayMate, the professional display review institution, with 13 records set or matched – more than any other smartphone.

Since there isn’t an abundance of video content that’s natively filmed to take advantage of the 120 screen refreshes every second that the OnePlus 8 Pro is capable of – the company is using a combination of “advanced motion estimation motion compensation (MEMC) algorithms” to ensure videos can be viewed at an elevated frame rate of up to 120fps with reduced motion blur and crisper clarity.

If you’re not a fan of the algorithmically-enhanced video, you can disable the software feature in the settings, OnePlus has promised.

OnePlus 8 Pro has a number of smaller tweaks that should also enhance your boxset bingeing on-the-move. The dual stereo speakers are now powered by Dolby Atmos technology to ensure a “more immersive sound,” the company says. OnePlus has also fitted the flagship with a redesigned haptic vibration engine which it promises will add “an extra layer of pounding tactility to your entertainment sessions.”

So, if you’re commute has been missing some pounding tactility – you know what phone to buy, right?

As well as its official IP68 certification, another new addition to its latest smartphone that OnePlus has resisted for years is wireless charging. OnePlus has always maintained that it would not bring Qi-compatible wireless charging to its smartphones until users would not have to sacrifice charging speeds for the convenience of going wire-free. As such, OnePlus 8 Pro is the first OnePlus device to pack its new Warp Charge 30 Wireless solution, which can refill the 4,510mAh battery to 50 in just 30 minutes – making it one of the fastest wireless charging solutions in the industry.

Warp Charge 30T, OnePlus’ wired fast-charging solution, can also charge the cell to 50% in 23 minutes.

As well as 5G, OnePlus 8 Pro is compatible with Wi-Fi 6 – the ultra-fast new standard for Wi-Fi networks. You’re unlikely to have a Wi-Fi 6 router in your home right now, but including it means your OnePlus 8 Pro should maintain its cutting-edge speeds for years to come as you upgrade your broadband kit.

OnePlus has ditched the mechanised drawer for the selfie camera from the OnePlus 8 Pro, so you won’t have to wait for that to whirr out of the chassis to snap a selfie, or use its lightning-fast facial recognition solution.

OnePlus said the decision to move to a hole-punch style camera, which will cut into your content when watching a video or playing a game in landscape – something that didn’t happen with the OnePlus 7 Pro, was required in order to achieve an IP68 water resistance rating.

Finally, on the back of the OnePlus 8 Pro, you’ll find the most complete set of cameras ever shipped on a OnePlus handset. The company has included a bumper set of four different lenses – including a 48MP custom-made Sony main sensor and a 48MP ultra-wide lens with a full 120-degree field of view. The quad-camera on the OnePlus 8 Pro is capable of 3x hybrid zoom that uses AI to sharpen the image. A 30x digital zoom is also possible.

If you’re commute has been missing some pounding tactility – you know what phone to buy, right?

The high megapixel count allows the multi-camera set-up to eke as much detail as possible from tough low-light conditions, OnePlus says. It should also mean you’re able to keep the quality of the image relatively high – good enough to print out and plaster on your wall, even with some aggressive cropping or a truckload of edits and filters. Of course, we’ll have to get our hands on the phone to really test that out.

The OnePlus 8 Pro should also sport better video shooting than previous smartphones from OnePlus. It is equipped with hybrid image stabilisation that combines optical (OIS) and electronic image stabilisation (EIS) for more stable videos. And with 3-HDR technology, OnePlus says the 8 Pro has higher dynamic range than any of its previous efforts.

OnePlus 8 Pro starts from £799 for an 8GB of RAM / 128GB storage configuration. This model is only available in Onyx Black. The maxed-out configuration with 12GB RAM / 256GB storage will set you back £899 and ship in the stylish new Glacial Green finish.

OnePlus 8 Pro will start shipping April 21, 2020.

OnePlus 8 price, release date, specs, features

The OnePlus 8 keeps the 90Hz high refresh-rate found on its predecessor, the OnePlus 7T. That’s still better than you’ll find on pricier handsets from the likes of Google and Apple, but not quite the same level of smooth as you’ll get with the OnePlus 8 Pro.

However, the more affordable entry in the OnePlus 8 smartphone series still benefits from HDR10 and 10+ support as well a colour accuracy rating of JNCD 0.4 that means it can achieve the exceptional A+ rating from DisplayMate.

Unfortunately, there’s no wireless charging support. However, OnePlus 8 boasts an upgraded 4,300mAh battery with Warp Charge 30T that can charge up to 50% in just roughly 22 minutes. That’s the same speed as the pricier OnePlus 8 Pro.

Weighing only 180g and just 8mm thick, OnePlus says the OnePlus 8 is “one of the most compact and lightweight 5G phones in the industry.”

The OnePlus 8 has a triple-camera system – losing the dedicated colour filter camera found in the quad camera on the OnePlus 8 Pro. However, you’ll still benefit from a 48MP main camera and a 16MP ultra -wide angle lens with a 116-degree expansive view.

OnePlus 8 starts from £599 for 8GB of RAM and 1278GB of built-in storage. That rises to £699 if you want 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. That’s still £100 less than the OnePlus 8 Pro. Like that handset, the OnePlus 8 will start shipping on April 21, 2020. 

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Netflix introduces new restrictions for younger viewers after dropping streaming quality

Netflix is making some more changes. After pledging to drop the streaming quality of its hugely-successful video on-demand platform in a bid to ease the strain on broadband networks across the UK and Europe, the Californian company has introduced more new changes. The latest update arrives on the browser experience as well as Netflix’s comprehensive suite of mobile apps.

The most significant tweaks come in the form of an entirely revamped set of parental controls. Netflix now gives parents tighter controls over what their children can watch via the streaming service.

One of the most useful changes allows parents to filter out content based on the age rating. So, if you’re happy for your children to binge anything rated up to 12+ then you’re now able to specify that in the Netflix settings. That should make it much faster for parents or guardians to quickly excise a whole portion of shows and movies they don’t want children accessing without adult supervision.

Not only that, but you can block individual titles if there are any that you feel push the limits of their age rating. Or, if there is a particular subject area that you’d rather your young ones aren’t exposed to – you can add these to a filter list for any of the Kids profiles linked to your account.

NOW TV is FREE this week – and has added a new channel with hundreds of shows

These changes are hugely timely as millions of people across the world practice social distancing by staying at home in a bid to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. Schools have shut nationwide in the UK, with only children of key workers – like those working on the frontline in the NHS, or deliveries – able to leave their kids in class as usual. As such, many parents now find themselves with children in the home almost 24 hours a day.

In the latest round of tweaks for Netflix users, the company has enabled parents to check a detailed breakdown of exactly what their children have been watching. Not only that, but they can now switch off auto-play to stop episodes running into one another. That should help bring Paw Patrol marathons to a close a little earlier than they otherwise would – especially if you’re in back-to-back Zoom meetings in the other room.

Have YOU broken social distancing rules? Google Maps reveals data to battle COVID-19


  • Sky suspends ALL TV and broadband deals: Here’s what it means for you

If you’re the account holder, you’ll be able to see all of these changes – and the new content filters and controls for every profile associated with your billing information – in your account settings.

Finally, Netflix now lets you PIN-protect an entire profile. Until now, you only had the ability to PIN protect certain age-restricted content. This should stop children being able to login into your main profile, instead of the designated Kids profile, and accessing content you’d rather not let them binge.

It also means parents won’t have to keep inputting the PIN each time they want to watch their box set when younger viewers have gone to bed. Once they’ve logged into the profile, everything will be unlocked and ready to watch.

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Windows 10 is finally fixing one of its most frustrating features

If you were worried that Microsoft hasn’t been listening to your concerns – you’d be wrong. One of the most frustrating features in Windows 10 since it first launched back in July 2015 has been Windows Update. These have gained an unfortunate reputation for being intrusive, difficult to configure, and even tougher to dismiss.

Microsoft has scaled back its Windows Update prompts from the early days, when the Redmond-based company issued fullscreen pop-ups that were notoriously tough to dismiss. However, Windows Update is a still a pain-point for many users.

Thankfully, the latest beta suggests Microsoft has heard the feedback. If the feature remains unchanged during the beta development process, the Windows 10 May 2020 Update (version 2004), will improve the notification of a pending update to make things easier and more transparent.

Following the update, Windows 10 users will see the notification about a new update waiting to be installed on your machine in the Notification Centre on the right-hand side of the screen. The pop-up itself will now offer the options to Restart Now, Restart Tonight or Choose an Hour. Selecting the latter will let you choose a time that’s convenient for you.

Selecting any of these options, Microsoft will remind you to ensure your laptop or two-in-one hybrid device is plugged in to enable an uninterrupted update.

Google Chrome finally gets serious competition: are YOU going to switch?

It’s incredibly important to make sure your laptop is plugged in – in case the battery level is low – before starting an update to the operating system.

After all, if your computer dies mid-update, it could trigger serious problems with Windows 10. In the worst-case scenarios, you could be forced to reinstall the operating system from scratch to get everything working as normal again.


  • NOW TV is now FREE for a week – and has added a brand-new channel

Microsoft will roll out the update in the coming months, provided there are no substantial changes. So, you won’t have to deal with the previous, more obtrusive Windows Update notifications for much longer.

We already know that Microsoft is bringing some substantial changes to Cortana in the Windows 10 May 2020 Update. Following the update, Cortana will be moved to a standalone app, instead of living in the taskbar at all times.

Visual tweaks are also expected alongside the typical stability and security improvements.

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Have YOU broken social distancing rules? Google Maps reveals data to battle COVID-19

Google has pledged to publicly track people’s movements over the course of the coronavirus pandemic currently gripping the UK. The Californian company will publish details of the types of places that people are gathering in order to help authorities track movements on a county-by-county basis. Similar data will be available for 130 other countries worldwide.

The US company has promised to issue regular updates. The latest figures will refer to activity from the previous two or three days.

Google gathers the data from its Google Maps app, which tracks your location whenever you use the app to navigate – or search for local venues offering takeaways and deliveries, as well as its other mobile and desktop apps that frequently request location data to personalise the experience and results.

Google typically uses this data to reveal when museums, restaurants, shops and other places of interest are busiest. This lets customers avoid the crowds. It also helps Google revise its suggested driving routes to help motorists avoid traffic jams.

However, following the public health crisis, Google will breakdown these readings to reveal how busy a number of the most popular locations are compared to earlier this year before the lockdown measures were introduced.

These 50 Android apps are damaging your phone and need to be removed right now

Google will single-out the following categories – retail and recreation, grocery and pharmacy, parks, beaches and plazas, bus, subway and train stations, office buildings and other places of work, and finally, residential.

Google believes the information will help public health officials to track the impact of lockdown measures, which have been introduced in a bid to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus – which has infected more than a million people worldwide, in order to help manage the outbreak.

Google says individuals’ privacy will be preserved. So, you do not need to worry about your personal location data being identifiable by officials.


  • Google Chrome is releasing a blockbuster update this week

However, that’s exactly what a forthcoming app from the NHS could do. The smartphone app, which is being developed by the health service’s digital arm – known as NHSX – alongside academic partners, is in advanced stages of evaluation. The app is designed to instantly trace close contacts of anyone who has coronavirus symptoms – advising you to self-isolate if you have passed close to someone with COVID-19.

Addressing its own efforts, Google stated: “This information could help officials understand changes in essential trips that can shape recommendations on business hours or inform delivery service offerings.

“Similarly, persistent visits to transportation hubs might indicate the need to add additional buses or trains in order to allow people… room to spread out for social distancing.”

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Houseparty warning: users complain iPhone and Android app has a dangerous flaw

Enraged Houseparty users have voiced concerns on social media that the hugely-successful video chat app, which has seen a surge in popularity after strict self-isolation rules rolled out by the UK Government forced millions to stay at home to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, has enabled hackers to access their Spotify and Netflix data. Taking to Twitter, users claim the smartphone and desktop application enabled the hack – and told everyone to “delete your Houseparty account” as soon as possible.

If you’d like to follow the advice, here’s how to securely log out your Houseparty account before deleting the app.

Houseparty has not commented on the allegations, which are quickly gaining traction on social media. It’s unclear how Houseparty would enable hackers to access data stored in other apps on your smartphone. It’s more likely users who use the same email address and password combination for different services have fallen pray to cyber crooks who have accessed their login information and used it to try to gain access to other online services.

It’s important to always use a different email-password combo for every online account in order to prevent this.

Password managers – apps that generate unique passwords and store your logins, meaning you only have to recall a single one to access the repository – can help people keep track of their online accounts and safeguard themselves against hackers.

If you have used the same email address and password for your Houseparty as other popular apps – like Netflix or Spotify, it’s worth changing immediately to something unique. has approached Houseparty for comment on the allegations quickly gaining traction on social media and will update this article when we hear back.

Houseparty: Is Houseparty safe to use? Can uninvited people join your Houseparty chat?


  • Vodafone upgrades thousands of customers with unlimited data

Privacy specialists at Farrer & Co have publicly issued guidance that warns that hackers and criminals can exploit flaws within Houseparty’s systems to access highly sensitive data. Farrer associate Thomas Rudkin told MailOnline that users should consider using end-to-end encrypted platforms, like FaceTime and WhatsApp.

“With video conferencing apps, there are also always concerns about how hackers and criminals might exploit them,” said Mr Rudkin. “While Houseparty has extensive restrictions on who can join chats, risks may arise due to people making contacts on Facebook and then being asked to connect with them on Houseparty.

“Houseparty – like many US tech platforms– has extensive data collection rights in its privacy policy, to include ‘information submitted via the services’.”

For those who don’t know, Houseparty – which is available on iPhone, iPad, Android, macOS, and Google Chrome – is a video chat application that lets you drop-in and drop-out on calls with friends. The app was originally designed for University students to keep open throughout the day, with people dropping in for chats every so often.

Since then, a number of games, including a trivia quiz, pictionary-style game, and others, have been added that can be played with friends in the chat.

Whenever you open the app on your computer or smartphone, a notification will be sent out to all of your friends, letting them know that you’re “in the house” and ready to video call. You can drop into any active conversations that your friends are holding – even if you don’t know everyone in their video chat – unless one of the participants decides to “lock the room”.

This has led to a number of horror stories from users, with Houseparty users reporting ex-partners suddenly appearing in video chats out of nowhere. Bosses and teachers have also purportedly appeared in video chats while people have been talking in the bath.

As such, campaigning charity Internet Matters has warned the app could represent a threat to youngsters by enabling strangers to enter their private chats. It has warned parents to make children aware of the importance of “locking” their video calls to stay safe.

The charity also warned that despite a 12+ age rating in app stores – it’s very easy for younger users to sign-up for an account due to the lack of an effective age verification process.

Houseparty can access the contacts app on your smartphone to find friends who are already using the app. Snapchat, Facebook and other popular social networks’ contact lists can also be imported into the app.

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