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Posts tagged Consumer Champion

Channel 4 Supershoppers

Wi-Fi Workout with Channel 4 Supershoppers

I’ve been filming some items for Channel 4 prime-time consumer programme, Supershoppers. In tonight’s show, I’m investigating broadband and Wi-Fi speeds.

Channel 4 Supershoppers

Is the internet speed you pay for the speed you actually get throughout your home? There are lots of reasons why that may not be the case, one of which is how well your broadband router performs.

The majority of us make do with the router provided by our internet service provider when we sign up. While that’s often the easiest way to get up and running, that bundled hardware may not always provide the best internet experience around the house.

So, we’re testing the kit shipped by the some of UK’s top internet service providers to see which router works the hardest to send Wi-Fi around your home.

Watch Supershoppers on Thursday 14 June 2018 at 8pm or catch up on All 4.

BBC One - Rip Off Britain Logo

BBC Rip Off Britain Season 10

Rip Off Britain is back with a new series on BBC1 this week.

In one of this season’s films, I talk about how internet-connected doorbells are now being used help to catch crooks.

Filming in Manchester for series 10 of BBC Rip Off Britain Think of a connected doorbell as a video intercom – similar to those already popular in flats and offices – that connects your front door to your phone. Not only do they provide peace of mind when your doorbell – or perhaps that of an elderly relative – rings, these smart devices can also record video of who is at the door. Needless to say, they have already been used to help identify criminals.

In another item for the show this series, I take Julia Somerville to a Bitcoin cashpoint to explain what cryptocurrency is and how it works – and how some viewers may have lost substantial sums of more traditional cash to so-called Bitcoin scammers.

This year for the show we’ve also been making some quick advice films for Facebook – here’s me talking about why some viewers’ second-hand smartphone have suddenly stopped working days or weeks after they’ve bought them:

Rip Off Britain airs on BBC1 at 9.15am from Monday 13th June 2018, available on catch-up on BBC iPlayer.

BBC Rip Off Britain: Keyless Car Crime

The new series of Rip Off Britain – series nine! – began on BBC1 this month and once I am on-hand as its resident technology expert.

Earlier this week, I spoke with Angela about how high-tech car criminals are able to hack their way past current keyless security systems. I also shared a few tips that may help concerned viewers prevent their cars being stolen. Here’s a quick taster:

Car crime has largely moved on from the coat hanger and hot-wire days of old, with crime rates decreasing by 80 percent since 1993 according to the Office for National Statistics. However, a new wave of tech-savvy car criminals is now making easy work of making off with many makes of car.

I’ve been following the high-tech car crime trend closely, trying to understand the ways in which criminals are able to bypass or subvert car keyless security systems – whether through signal amplification, wireless jamming or keyless code capture. Criminals often steal to order, targeting high-value vehicles that are driven to so-called ‘chop-shops’ and sold on for parts.

Next week I travel to Glasgow for BBC Rip Off Britain Live. I find the live shows particularly enjoyable because we are able to be responsive to news stories as they break. As such, I can’t say yet exactly which stories I’ll be covering, but I believe we’ll be discussing how the Internet of Things has made our homes vulnerable to hackers.

BBC Rip Off Britain airs on BBC1, weekdays 9.15-10.00. Watch here on BBC iPlayer.

bbc one logo

BBC X-Ray Summer Special – Photography Tips

David McClelland joins the BBC X-Ray team for a photography summer special.

As regular visitors here may know, I’m a photography nut. Naturally, I was very excited to be asked to be part of the BBC One Wales X-Ray Summer Special on how to make the most of your camera. I was pleased too that a primetime TV show had dedicated its slot to talk about photos – after all, with smartphones in almost every pocket now, snapping photos is something that many of us do all the time.

On a blustery afternoon in late-spring, I arrived by train into the picturesque Welsh coastal town of Aberystwyth. Heading first for the seafront, and then to the Arts Centre, I spoke with presenter Lucy Owen about all manner of issues that might arise when taking pictures and sharing them online — even how to back them up:

The show also looks at how to take better pictures with your smartphone, how to get great footage while safely flying a drone, and how the National Library of Wales preserves its priceless collection of photos.

UK licence fee payers can watch the whole BBC One Wales X-Ray episode on BBC iPlayer.

Smashing Security

Sexy Cybersecurity: The Smashing Security Podcast

I turned the internet’s air blue as I guested on this week’s Smashing Security podcast.

I’ve been listening to and enjoying the Smashing Security podcast since it began late last year.

Hosted by security industry veterans Graham Cluley and Carole Theriault, the weekly show rounds up the latest news on hacks, data breaches and cyber security with a healthy dose humour and energy.

So, I had no hesitation when Graham asked if I might appear as a guest on the show. I suspect he may hesitate before asking me again though…

Tasked with covering some of the week’s news, I quickly rounded on three sex stories:

  • how the UK government plans to enforce age verification for sites serving adult content by April 2018
  • how the owner of the Ashley Madison website has set aside $11 million to settle with disgruntled users following the 2015 data leak
  • how one online adult service has introduced biometric authentication for male members

Needless to say, we covered the news with a professionalism befitting the material. Well, mostly. Hear for yourself:

To check out further episodes of the show, and to subscribe, visit the Smashing Security website.

The One Show - Toddlers and Tablets

Healthy Habits with Smartphones and Tablets – The One Show

This week I appeared on BBC1’s The One Show sharing advice on how parents can help their children to develop healthy habits when using smartphones and tablets.

One Show - Toddlers and TabletsFor the film, we visited a high street phone store and let a dozen under-elevens loose to observe how they used the selection of phones and tablets on display.

I’m a dad, and like most parents, I feel as if I’m making it up as I go along – which, of course, I am. How I introduce my children to technology is no exception.

Understanding a little about how children develop, what their needs are at different ages, and how easily influenced they are by adults around them, can all help make sure that children – and their parents – have a happy relationship with gadgets.

Technology offers amazing opportunities but, for me, the old adage that ‘too much of a good thing is a bad thing’ stands as true with smartphones and tablets as it does with anything else.

The One Show is on BBC1 at 7pm most evenings, viewers in the UK with a television licence can watch here.

Alexa: How to secure my Amazon Echo?

My feature on how to secure your Amazon Echo was published in TechRadar last week. Here is my take on why securing these intelligent home hubs is of vital importance.

Muting your Amazon Echo

Hear no Evil? Muting your Amazon Echo (Credit: Flickr / Rob Albright / CC BY-NC 2.0)

Voice-activated intelligent virtual assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home are starting to play an important role as the hub of our connected homes.

Buttons are obsolete. Simply by conversing with my Alexa I can control my central heating and the lighting around my house and garden; I can buy products with my voice, check my personal calendar, set alarms or reminders, update my things to do list, read my favourite book or play any song, album or playlist on Spotify. With my voice.

Hear no Evil

The convenience this offers is staggering and, in a little over three months since I plugged it in and powered it on, my Amazon Echo has already changed many behaviours in our household. For the better? I think so. However…

With convenience comes compromise, especially when it comes to security. We should never be blinded by the utility of any new piece of technology.

I made one mistake in extolling the virtues of our Amazon Echo above. You see, all of these amazing things and more can be commanded not only with my voice, they can be asked by anybody’s voice.

Voice Recognition versus Speech Recognition

While Alexa has enviable speech recognition – the ability to understand and interpret natural language input by speech – she has yet to learn the skill of voice recognition. Often confused, voice recognition is the ability to uniquely distinguish between different people’s voices by analysing physical and behavioural characteristics.

With voice recognition Alexa would know whether it was me (ie authorised) ordering that Nintendo Switch console from Amazon Prime, or if it was my Mario Kart-loving daughter trying her luck (sorry, denied). Did I just ask Alexa for a 2am alarm call or was somebody outside my living room window attempting to play a prank?

Amazon has no plans to introduce voice recognition into the Amazon Echo just yet. Nevertheless, there are steps that Echo owners can take to make sure they enjoy the convenience of a virtual assistant without the worry of being woken up by a 2am prank alarm call.

Pop over to TechRadar to read my 8 top tips to lock down your Alexa.

ITV Good Morning Britain

Good Morning Black Friday Britain

In the US Black Friday follows Thanksgiving Thursday and, along with so-called Cyber Monday, has become one of the biggest days in the online shopping calendar. Inevitably it has become a big deal in the UK now too.

On Friday’s ITV Good Morning Britain I was in the studio sharing some tips on how to bag the best online Black Friday bargains.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the Black Friday hype? Here’s how to get the best deals online without spending needlessly!

Posted by Good Morning Britain on Friday, 25 November 2016

Many Black Friday shopping tips apply equally to buying online around the rest of the year, but some peculiarities have emerged:

  • Keep checking throughout the day. A large element of surprise and secrecy exists around Black Friday that retailers are keen to persist. Prices change, new deals get added and stocks are limited: it’s all part of a clever strategy to keep us interested throughout the day and coming back to their online stores. But that does mean that a good price at 8am might be even better by midday, but sold out by six. That’s the risk you take.
  • Black Friday Pop-Up Portals: Comparison sites and aggregation tools are useful all year round, but on Black Friday dozens of pop-up sales portals appear on reputable websites. Which to choose? If you’re shopping for gadgets and technology (always a big deal over this weekend) then take a look at the website of popular gadget magazines or online titles – referrals and traffic mean Black Friday is great business for them too, and many have journalists locked in a room all day hunting down the best deals so you don’t have to.
  • Is it really a bargain? It’s worth pointing out that some retailers don’t play fair – research by Which? found many so-called Black Friday bargains were anything but, with prices cheaper both before and after the shopping bonanza weekend. Websites like camelcamelcamel.com (I’ve no idea…) keep track of prices over a period of time to let you see how the price you on offer today compares with the price over, say, the last twelve months.

It goes without saying to watch out for scams though phishing, smishing and malvertising, be aware of your rights and consider paying by credit card for the best consumer protection.

A final thought:

  • Don’t let Black Friday Frenzy take over. Remember this is essentially a bit of fun – the worst that can happen is that we pay full price for something or don’t buy it at all. Part of the fun of the whole experience is the thrill of chasing a bargain but your life absolutely does not depend on it. Keep it in perspective and if the fun stops then switch off your computer, switch on the kettle and make a cup of Black Friday tea.
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