Category Archives: Blog

Google One

Need more space in Google Drive or more editing options in Google Photos? Then Google has Google One to provide both. It does cost money, starting at £1.59 for 100GB (the free Google Drive is 15GB), photo editing and a VPN for privacy and security (to find out more about VPNs go here: The last alone is more than £1.59 pm from VPN vendors, although they are more sophisticated. You can even get as much as 2TB for £7.99pm which is a bargain and is twice as much space as the typical laptop – however, it is useful as a backup destination. So you might settle for 200GB for £2.49 a month.

Even more amazing is that you can share the storage with up to five others (and that might justify 2TB as you each get 400GB) – you each have private space.

Google Photos is enhanced with ‘magic eraser’ and creative tools like HDR to give your photos more sparkle.

And if any of this is confusing then you have access to enhanced support for Google products.

WhatsApp scam

Is nothing safe? Fraudsters are locking people out of their accounts. They do this by getting access to an account that has you as a contact. They then send you a message that seems to have been sent by your friend. Whist chatting with you, the fraudster tries to register a WhatsApp with your phone number. This makes WhatsApp send a six-digit code to your phone. Now the fraudster tries to convince you that they (posing as your friend) sent the code which they need to sign into their account. If you do send the code to them, it is you who will be locked out. And the cycle repeats with your contacts…..

You may want to switch on two-step verification in the WhatsApp settings to further protect your account.

View two tabs in Edge

A new, experimental, feature in the Edge web browser lets you see two tabs side by side, so that you can compare them. At the moment it is experimental so it needs to be enabled manually.

In the browser address bar type edge://flags and press enter. Now look for ‘Microsoft Edge split screen’, select Enabled from the drop-down menu and restart Edge.

You will now find a ‘split window’ button. Pressing this will move the current tab contents to the left and allows you to choose another tab to show on the right.

Alternatively, you can enter a web address for the right side or open a link in the left in the right side. Hover over the top-right corner, choose ‘switch between linked and unlinked tabs’ and select ‘open link from left to right tab.

Or, like most browsers, drag the tab from the tab bar onto the desktop to open it in a new window. Not as much functionality but a lot easier!

Planning for your flights

With online check -in and charges for better seats, it’s hard to just roll up to check-in and ask for help.

Well, there are places to go. is a great site where you can enter your flight details and the website displays a seat map together with advice on good or bad seats. I use it a lot to get the best value.

If you use Google Chrome or Edge, there is an extension called ‘legrooms for google flights’ which compares airlines when you search for flights in Google Flights. It marks the most generous in green and the worst in red.

So stretch out!

Netflix subtitles

I don’t subscribe, but if you do there is a way to change the size and colour of subtitles. Scroll down to the main page of a show and find ‘audio and subtitles’. Choose your subtitle language and set the show playing.

Now use your remote to bring up the playback options by pressing down. Press down again and go across to the settings cog on the far right. There you will find the subtitle choices.

Stop your laptop being stolen

OK, let’s say ‘try’ as a determined thief will get anything given enough time, but we can increase the time to make it not worthwhile.

The most vulnerable time is out and about, when we have the laptop on a table in, say, a coffee shop. Some laptops cost North of £1,000, so we can spend a bit of money on securing them. Most laptops have a slot to insert a cable (usually Kensington slot, Kensington nano-slot or Noble lock). MacBooks don’t but you can get a lock-slot that clamps or sticks onto the MacBook. You can use the stick-on devices for other items like tablets.

Buy a suitable cable, like a ‘Kensington lock’. This is a cable with a loop at one end and a lock at the other. Put the cable round something like a strong table leg, put the lock end through the loop, put the lock into the slot on your laptop and turn the key. Now it is much harder to whisk the laptop off the table.

Search for discounts on Amazon

I do just tend to set the sort order to ‘price low to high’ when I am buying a specific product, but if you are searching for a category, like televisions, then discount can be telling.

One can just look for heavily discounted items from the home page by adding a code to the end of the search, such as ‘television &pct-off=40-’ to see TVs with 40% or more off normal selling price. Just alter the 40 to whatever you want. Using ‘pct-off=20-40’ will show discounted items between 20 and 40% off.

Another option is, which is a sophisticated search engine for Amazon. Make sure it is set to the UK at the top-right. Now you can see lots of search options for Amazon. It works pretty well, but as it is creating a search for submission to Amazon, it can sometimes be a little off the mark. Definitely worth trying, though.

Change website passwords in Chrome

Having unique passwords is very important to keeping you safe online. There are various password managers, but Google Chrome has improved its built-in password manager. This can tell you if your passwords have been compromised or whether they are weak.

You do need to be signed in to do this. Go to ‘settings’, then ‘autofill’ on the left followed by ‘password manager’ and finally ‘Check passwords’.

If it finds any problems, then you can use the blue ‘change password’ button to (usually) go to the password reset page for that website.

And yes, it can happen to you.

Not all SatNav is helpful

Satnav like Google Maps is great in the car. Many of us will be getting out and about as the weather improves.

Pick a good service (see earlier entries in my blog) rather than relying on Google Maps on your phone. One hiker got lost in the Lake District and it took nine rescue teams, five dogs and a drone twenty hours to find him. The search team said that Google Maps has no detail on a phone handset (even with Satellite or Terrain layers on).

I do like which lets me search already planned routes and create my own that I can then share.

Browsing routes has a lot of filters like min and max distance, terrain and more importantly max ascent!

Creating a route is even easier. Select from walking, running or bike. Then zoom the world map into where you want to create the route and just click points along the route where you want to go on your route (Churches, villages, pubs). Just like a satnav, Plotaroute then sorts out the roads or trails to take, the distance, the climb or descent overall and an estimate of how long it will take. If you don’t like that, there are a myriad of options to tailor it for you.

It is also recommended to take a map and compass, making sure you know how to use them. A great source of Ordnance Survey maps for the UK is Footpath Maps. Easy to navigate around using places or postcodes, with zoom levels from the whole country down to seeing individual houses. At zoom levels 7 & 8 you can also see bridleways, footpaths and other items.

If you do want to use your phone, remember that a dead phone could mean a dead you, so take a powerbank!

Staying safe on the internet

A topic that I return to frequently but it keeps evolving. We are potentially tricked into visiting more and more websites and clicking on dangerous downloads.

The browser providers can help you by putting up shields that will identify a lot of problem sites. And we need all the help we can get! To activate these if they aren’t already:

Chrome: go to settings-privacy and security. Now select ‘enhanced protection’

Edge: use settings-privacy, search and services. Scroll most of the way down and turn on ‘enhance your security on the web’.

Firefox: settings-privacy and security. Near the bottom is ‘Block dangerous and deceptive content’.