^ China’s Haier lays claims to 10% of the world market for white goods. ‘Instaswitch’ models (two shown) have Wi-fi and can double as a fridge or freezer
This month I looked into the availability of some domestic appliances, notably the Chinese Haier brand which is now appearing online. Haier bought America’s GE appliances business in 2016 and the Candy brand in 2019 (which includes the Hoover brand, popular in Europe). Some models feature Haier’s ‘Instaswitch’ that converts it from a deep freezer to a refrigerator at the touch of a button. More to the point, Haier Instaswitch freezers are Wi-Fi connected which they claim alerts users of abnormal temperature rises caused by an open door or a power cut, for example. Owners can also control the temperature through their smartphone, Haier says.
I explain in this month’s Net Work why I chose to buy a European make from a local store instead, but given that it cost twice the price of the Haier, the freezer has some silly shortcomings.
(Left) Westinghouse foretold the advent of the video doorbell in this 1950s film – but not cordless telephones though! (Image: Youtube/ History comes to life)
(Right) GE ‘Pushbutton Magic’ – demonstrating coloured pushswitch controls on a 1948 GE ‘Stratoliner’ oven (Image: Youtube/ Museum of Innovation and Science)
Readers might enjoy some nostalgic glimpses of the electric appliances of yesteryear, particularly some quaint film presentations of American domestic appliances from a century ago.
Some versions of Windows 10 are now at end of life or heading that way, and will not receive any more updates or security patches. The website https://endoflife.date/windows gives a useful summary. Windows Update will gradually push the latest (21H1) onto systems to keep them going till December 2022.
You can also type ‘WinVer’ after hitting the Start button. It will show your current version of Windows, such as 20H2 (= second half release in the year 2020).
There’s much talk of the next release of Windows: prior to the annual Microsoft Event that was being held on June 24th, Microsoft uploaded a video of ‘meditative sounds’ based on old Windows system sounds at https://youtu.be/fMr4Qm5ZWrI. It’s exactly 11 minutes long – is that a clue about things to come?
Symantec’s former consumer products are now sold under the familiar Norton brand (www.norton.com) owned by Norton Lifelock and, at the time of writing, Norton 360 Deluxe (5 devices) costs £19.99 in Year One and £84.99 a year thereafter. Watch out for costly automatic renewals that sleep-walk you into subscribing for another year if you don’t cancel.
The UK anti virus market has been under investigation by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and Norton Lifelock was taken to court for refusing to provide the CMA with certain information. See https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cma-takes-norton-to-court-for-withholding-information
In June Norton agreed to extend the cancellation rights of auto-renewal consumer contracts, see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/norton-extends-refund-rights-after-cma-action
In May they’d done the same with McAfee: CMA secures refund rights for McAfee customers – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Others to try:
Kaspersky Internet Security (5 Devices) is discounted to just £18.14 for one year for a downloadable version, if bought via Amazon.
Avast Software still offers a free ‘lite’ version that’s better than nothing and might be enough for occasional users: download it from https://www.avast.com.
Paid-for versions cost £39.99 (Year 1) and £79.99 per year thereafter (10 devices). Other reputable brands include McAfee, Panda Cloud Security, Eset and BitDefender. Many of these anti-virus programs can be bought and downloaded via Amazon, but there will undoubtedly be discount offers on the web so it’s worth checking around.
Phone security experts Certo Software recently published a blog about hackers targeting the iCloud in order to gain access to victims’ phones. Certo tested a number of spyware products to see if it is still possible for hackers to gain access to the iCloud via these apps, as well as sharing advice on what you can do to protect yourself. iCloud users can read more at https://www.certosoftware.com/can-your-icloud-account-be-hacked-in-2021/
For Windows power users www.macrium.com
^ Casper 11 disaster recovery software creates a complete, immediately-bootable copy of your PC’s drive, including OS, applications, settings, and all of your data.
Casper 11 from Future Systems Solutions. Download a free trial from https://www.fssdev.com/products/casper/.
Useful practical advice on how to safeguard your EV cable when it’s in use, on a Youtube video at https://youtu.be/mYHhqekij3E.
Ofcom’s annual report, Online Nation 2021, cited some trends in UK internet usage in a 185 page analysis.
The full report is online at https://www.ofcom.org.uk/research-and-data/internet-and-on-demand-research/online-nation