Certa Hosting

Certa is an experienced UK-based hosting company which offers ‘premium web hosting‘ and 24/7 support for a budget price.

The baseline specification is solid, with unlimited disk space and bandwidth, daily backups, easy installation of WordPress and other common apps, and comprehensive website management via the industry-standard cPanel.

The £2.49 ($3.10) a month (excluding tax) Certa Lite account has some notable limits: it supports only one website, 10 email accounts and two MySQL databases. But there’s more than enough power for many smaller projects, and it could be a sensible solution for some.

Upgrading to the £3.99 ($5) a month Certa Pro plan gets you support for 10 websites, 50 MySQL databases and either 50 or 100 email accounts (the website lists both, confusingly). It also adds unlimited shared SSLs, a free website builder, subdomain and add-on domain support, plus it gives you a free domain when you sign up, and improves performance by allocating your account more RAM and processes.

The £8.99 ($11.25) a month Certa Unlimited plan lives up to its name with support for unlimited websites, email accounts and MySQL databases. There’s also a boost in resources, with the plan doubling your allocated RAM and entry processes. That might sound appealing, but if you want to run ‘unlimited’ websites from the account (or more than 10, anyway) you’ll probably find performance will be poor.

Demanding users might prefer one of Certa’s virtual private server accounts. These start at £9.32 ($11.65) a month for a single-core, along with 1GB of RAM and 20GB of hard drive space, and offer a host of extensions and tweaks. You can add cores, RAM, SSD space and IPs, choose from many operating systems (Windows and Linux), add a control panel, backups, a hardware firewall and more.

Every plan, even the humble Certa Lite, is protected by a surprisingly detailed service level agreement. Shared hosting network uptime should be 99.9%, you’ll get a first acknowledgement to a support ticket within one hour, and ticket updates will take no longer than six hours, with escalation to senior staff happening in only 90 minutes.

We don’t know how often these targets will be achieved or precisely what they mean – might a first acknowledgement to a ticket include an answer, or is it only ever ‘message received’? – but it’s still good to see a hosting company spell out what you can expect.

If it all goes horribly wrong, Certa doesn’t deliver, or you just decide you don’t need the account after all, a 30-day money-back guarantee ensures you’ll get a refund of the hosting costs (as usual, domain registrations and other upfront costs aren’t included). There are no restrictions and you don’t have to contact support to justify the request – you can cancel from within your control panel.

Account setup

The Certa website makes it easy to explore the individual features of each plan. You can view the core basics or drill down to a more detailed comparison table which clearly highlights the differences between plans.

Pricing is refreshingly honest. Opt to buy the £2.49 ($3.10) a month Certa Lite plan and you’re not told that this price only applies if you buy two or three years upfront, like some of the sneakier competition. You don’t even have to pay annually unless you want to do so; the plan really is available for £2.49 ($3.10) a month.

There are a small number of add-ons, including ‘advanced spam filtering’ for £2 ($2.65) a month per domain, a dedicated IP address for £2.49 ($3.10) a month, and an ‘LVE Boost’ which doubles your resources for £5 ($6.60) a month.

Certa’s signup process works much the same as any other hosting company, with options to register a new domain or specify one you own already, then you enter your name and billing address, and choose a payment method (card or PayPal).

We noticed a tiny issue in the terms and conditions page – it gives you a half-price promo code which turns out to be expired – but otherwise there were no problems. We handed over our cash, Certa redirected us to its web dashboard, a flurry of emails arrived (five? really?), and after verifying our email address we were ready to begin.

Creating a site

The Certa Hosting web dashboard is crammed with features: menus, buttons, panels, an expanding sidebar and more. While this can seem intimidating at first, it does make it easier to locate particular areas of the service, as just about everything is no more than a couple of clicks away.

In this case, clicking My Services and choosing our hosting plan took us to a more focused control panel. This included shortcuts to key cPanel functions – Email Accounts, File Manager, Backup and more – as well as details on our package, cPanel username and password, Certa’s name servers and more.

Experts can launch cPanel with a click and go to work immediately, setting up and managing their site with all the usual tools and applets.

Beginners are more likely to be left confused. It’s likely that many customers will buy an account to host a WordPress site, for instance, but there’s no indication of how you might set this up: no WordPress icon, no Install App button or anything else.

Would the Knowledgebase offer some clues, we wondered? There is a tutorial entitled ‘How to install WordPress’, but this tells you to go to WordPress.org and download and install the package manually. Certa already provides the Softaculous platform which can install WordPress and many other apps all on its own, but the Knowledgebase doesn’t even mention that.

Newcomers to hosting may figure out the setup process themselves, as it’s not too difficult (hit the cPanel button, scroll down to the Softaculous panel, click WordPress). Life might be easier if Certa highlighted this upfront, though, rather than pointing users to an entirely unnecessary manual setup procedure.

If you prefer the graphical approach, customers on the Certa Pro and higher plans can alternatively use Certa’s Zyro-based site builder. It doesn’t have many templates, but the designs look good and the package is easy to use. If you’re interested, check out the interface demo at the Zyro site.


It’s difficult to clearly assess the long-term performance of a web host from a single review, but digging into its various features can give indicators about the company and the level of service you’ll get.

Certa scored reasonably well for its server setup, with up-to-date versions of cPanel and Apache, and recent releases of PHP and MySQL. This should ensure you’ll be able to run the latest editions of whatever web applications you need.

The integration of cPanel with the rest of Certa’s systems was more dubious. We clicked ‘Open Ticket’, and it displayed the My Details page; clicking Check Network Status displayed the Knowledgebase, and so on. Bizarrely, this wasn’t consistent, and if we tested repeatedly we were sometimes taken to the right pages. Don’t ask us why – we don’t have the faintest idea.

Heading off to the Knowledgebase revealed around 380 tutorials organized into various topics. While that sounds impressive, most of these weren’t focused on hosting issues. Around 150 tutorials involved setting up email clients, for instance, and many of those were relatively obscure or out of date (DreamMail, SquirrelMail, Outlook 2010).

Knowledgebase searches were rarely helpful. Entering ‘install WordPress’ returned a manual installation guide rather than pointing us to the automated process, as we mentioned earlier. Searching for ‘permissions’ gave us only a setup guide for Plesk, with nothing on cPanel or general concepts and troubleshooting, and a ‘PHP version’ search pointed us to an irrelevant ‘How to install WHMCS’ article.

There’s no real intelligence to the search process, either. Enter something like ‘migrate WordPress’ in some knowledgebases and even if there isn’t a direct match, the system might give you related WordPress articles. Certa simply told us “no articles found.”

Would the support team be any better? We opened a live chat session and asked a simple product question. The agent asked us to wait, returned a couple of minutes later and suggested we send our question in an email. We did, but never received a reply.

Live chat agents aren’t usually the most experienced support staff, so we followed up by sending the same question via a support ticket. This time the results were much, much better, with a helpful and accurate reply arriving only 36 minutes after our query.

As ever, we completed our tests by benchmarking our server with Bitcatcha, WebPagetest and a few other sites. Shared hosting performance can vary greatly over time, but our results were impressive for a budget service, with the site loading quickly for UK, European and North American connections.

Final verdict

The Certa Hosting website could be easier to use, particularly for beginners, and the support site needs a major update. But the service also offers plenty of features and decent performance for very little cash, and it’s well worth a look for more experienced users.

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How to encrypt email

Sending an unencrypted email is often likened to a postcard, in that anyone who wants to read it just needs to look at it. Obviously this isn’t good, especially when you need to send personal information to someone else, such as your bank details.

The way to get total privacy is to encrypt your email, and there are a number of ways to do that. We’ll explain them, and we’ll show you a supremely easy way to send an encrypted message that will self-destruct 30 seconds after opening, just like in Mission Impossible.

Bear in mind that most instant messaging services are now end-to-end encrypted, including Skype, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger (plus iMessage for Apple users). So if you need to send a private message it may be just as easy to do so on one of those services.

How can I send encrypted email in Gmail and Outlook?

Most of us use email because it’s convenient and easy to retrieve from almost any device we own. So it’s good to know there are options open to users of Gmail and Outlook.


Back in 2014 Google announced that it was making encryption in Gmail the default setting for all users. This means that so long as you are using the official Gmail apps or accessing Gmail through the Chrome browser then your email is already encrypted.

But, and this is a big but, this only holds true if the recipient is also using Google apps. Once the email leaves the Google servers, say when you send it to your friend who uses Yahoo Mail, then the encryption is no longer applied, as otherwise the receiver wouldn’t be able to read it. So while this is certainly a big step towards security, it does leave some rather large holes that could compromise your privacy.

Then of course there is the issue that Google itself, or at least software created by the company, scans your emails for keywords so that it can serve ads that will be applicable to your interests. In many ways it’s the price you pay for the free service. Google of course maintains that the content is never actually read by a person, but if you are worried about the sanctity of the data it might be better to use a plugin such as Snapmail.co which we explore below.


It’s not surprising to find built-in features for encryption in Outlook for those with an Office365 subscription. Setting it up is a little more challenging though, but then that is often the trade-off with any security feature. The first thing you’ll need to do is exchange digital signatures with your recipient so that both of you will be able to unencrypt the messages. To create these you’ll need to follow the Secure email messages by using a digital signature guide on Microsoft’s site. 

With this accomplished you can write your email, then when you’re ready to send it select Options > More Options > Message Options > Security Settings > Encrypt message contents and attachments.

Sadly these features are not available on Outlook.com or in the Mail app for Windows 10, as they are restricted to paid subscribers.

What if I don’t use Gmail or Outlook?

There are a number of decent alternatives out there, with Tutanota, Ghostmail, and Protonmail all proving excellent options. At the moment you can have free accounts on these, although they do come with restrictions on usage in regards to the size of emails you can send and the storage available.

Secure services either require the recipient to also be a member of the platform, or to possess a password you give them to unlock each email. This might seem cumbersome when compared to the likes of Gmail, but is a necessary level of security that is very effective against hackers and government agencies.

If you’re happy to use an IM style of communication then Mega offer a secure chat feature as part of its free cloud storage package. Again your recipient would need to be a member, but as it doesn’t cost anything and also affords you 50GB of storage, this might actually be quite enticing.

See also: Best online storage services

How do I send messages that self-destruct?

Another method is to use software that deletes the messages shortly after they’ve been read. As an example for how one of these secure message service works we signed up to Snapmail, which allows users to send ‘self-destructing text emails for Gmail’. It all feels very James Bond, but is actually quite easy to get to grips with and involves almost no international villainy.  

The first thing to do, assuming of course you use Gmail, is to visit the Chrome web store and search for Snapmail. When you’ve found it click the Add to Chrome button and the extension will be installed.

How to send encrypted emails

How to send encrypted emails

Now click the three lines in the top right of the screen and from the drop down menu that appear select More tools>Extensions, then scroll down until you find Snapmail and ensure that it is enabled.

How to send encrypted emails

How to send encrypted emails

To send an encrypted email you’ll need to launch Gmail, compose your message, then you’ll notice that there is now a Snapmail next to the Send button at the bottom of the window. This means you can choose to only encrypt certain emails rather than every one, but remember that any sent by Snapmail will automatically be deleted. Click the Snapmail button to encrypt your message.

When the email arrives in your recipient’s inbox it’s accompanied by the warning that it will self-destruct 60 seconds after they open it. Sadly there are no voice messages or puffs of smoke to add to the drama.

It’s worth contacting the recipient before you send the email, as the Snapmail one does look a little suspicious, requiring you to click on a link. Usually we’d advise strongly against this as it’s how most phishing attacks take place, fooling the user into clicking on a link to a false version of a website where you unwittingly enter your account details. But in this case it’s actually helping you instead.

Just remember to read quickly!

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Windows Mixed Reality Will Support SteamVR On Nov 15

Yesterday, a report surfaced that suggested that Microsoft and Valve would enable support for Windows Mixed Reality headsets on Valve’s Steam platform on November 15. Microsoft didn’t offer an official response when we pressed for confirmation, but sources with knowledge of the matter confirmed that it is true.

Microsoft launched its XR platform, Windows Mixed Reality, last month alongside the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. WMR introduces a new way to interact with your Windows 10 environment and Universal Windows Platform apps. Rolling Stone’s report suggests that you would access the Steam VR platform through a UWP app that you must launch from the WMR home environment. Our source didn’t confirm that Steam VR for WMR would be a UWP app, but we believe that it is accurate. Windows 10 is largely built on UWP, and WMR gives Microsoft an opportunity to convince developers to embrace the universal app platform.

In our search for answers about WMR Steam VR Support, we learned that not everyone would be able to enjoy Steam VR games with a WMR headset. Microsoft supports two performance tiers for WMR-compatible devices. A basic WMR-compatible system requires a 7th generation Intel Core processor with an integrated graphics processor. We aren’t surprised that a basic system won’t support Steam VR games, but we didn’t expect that you’d have trouble with a system that meets the Windows Mixed Reality Ultra requirements.

Microsoft’s high-end hardware configuration, which enables the headset to operate at 90Hz, requires an Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD Ryzen 5 1400 processor. You’ll also need a somewhat powerful graphics card to meet the WMR Ultra requirements. Microsoft recommends a GTX 960 or GTX 1050 from Nvidia, or an RX 460 or RX 560 from AMD. It also supports mobile Nvidia GTX 965M GPUs.

Our source suggested that you’ll need a much more powerful machine to play Steam VR games through the WMR platform. We were told that you would need at least a GTX 1070 or equivalent GPU (Vega 54 comes to mind). We can’t say we’re surprised that you need a high-end GPU to play Steam VR games, but we were somewhat taken aback when we learned the CPU requirements. Our source suggested that you would need a 7th generation Core i7 processor to get the job done. We suspect that an 8th generation Core i5 would do the trick, but that remains to be seen.

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[Deals] Save 69% on a Microsoft Windows 10 Pro OEM CD Key

Upgrade to the latest and greatest version of Microsoft Windows at a low price with this CD key deal. You’ll get a single-use license for Microsoft Windows 10 Professional, tied to a single computer. 

Windows 10 is the newest version of Microsoft Windows, with a variety of new features such as the Cortana intelligent voice assistant, who can answer questions, integrate with apps, search the Web and more, all through natural language voice commands. It also features a brand-new Start Menu, which combines the best of both worlds from the Metro design of Windows 8, and the classic Start Menu that’s been around since Windows 95. You also get access to the brand-new Windows Store, with its Universal Windows Platform app ecosystem. On top of these and other new features are better performance, increased security, reduced memory footprint, and many improvements to the core user experience.

Elevate your Windows experience now with this low-cost deal on a Microsoft Windows 10 Pro OEM CD Key, and buy it for the low price of £12.78, a 69% savings.

Resellers offer a wide range of deals, but it is our dedicated team who always sort and select them for you. Our partners best deals will always be brought to you. Here is today’s best deal!

Check this page to Find more offers.

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Eurocom Q5 Max-Q Gaming Laptop Review

Nvidia first revealed Max-Q back in May, teasing 85-90% GPU efficiency in thinner and lighter laptops. The first such laptop we reviewed was the Asus ROG Zephyrus, which featured an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 with Max-Q design, and it delivered on all fronts. We’ve been itching to test another Max-Q laptop ever since.

Today we’ll be looking at the Eurocom Q5, a 0.74” gaming laptop featuring a GTX 1070 with Max-Q design.



The Eurocom Q5 is based off the Clevo P957HP6, so you can expect Clevo’s generic brown “Notebook Computer” packaging. There’s a white plastic handle at the top of the box for easy carrying.

Inside, you’ll find the Q5 wrapped in plastic and three blocks of protective closed-cell foam. Adjacent to the foam blocks, you’ll find a box containing the Q5’s 180W adapter and an AC power cord. That’s it. No extra booklets or manuals. Just the laptop and its power accessories. The Q5’s manual can be found on Eurocom’s website.

The Q5’s packaging is as generic as you can get. This isn’t a negative, per se. However, competing Clevo resellers like Origin PC trek the extra mile by using their own branded packaging and extras (like posters). Our review of the Origin PC EON17-SLX illustrates the impressive unboxing experience.


Luckily, the monotony ends with the packaging. When we finally got our hands on the Q5, we couldn’t help but feel astonished. The Q5 features an elegant black titanium-aluminum alloy construction that’s light yet sturdy. The lid has tastefully placed angular accents running from the hinge to the top of the lid. There’s a decorative plastic strip spanning between where the lid accents meet the top edge of the lid, complementing the Q5’s aggressive aesthetic. Perhaps most impressive is the lid’s lighting effects. In the very middle, there’s a translucent red plastic insignia, and there are two perforated strips located next to the angled accents. When the system is powered, the insignia and perforations emit a red light.

The interior area surrounding the input devices is also constructed out of titanium-aluminum alloy, which is pleasant to the touch but attracts fingerprints and smudges rather easily. Fortunately, the surface is easy to clean, at least compared to brushed-aluminum and rubberized plastic, which competing manufacturers tend to implement.

On the bottom left, beneath the keyboard, there are logo stickers highlighting a few of the Q5’s features, while the bottom right has a painted SoundBlasterX logo. At the very top of the interior surface, you’ll find three red accents, adding much needed color to the almost entirely black surface. The middle red accent acts as the Q5’s power button, and it has a power logo in the dead center. When the system is powered, a white LED turns on beneath the power button.

There are perforations dotted in and around the two red accents surrounding the power button; these perforations act as the Q5’s speakers, and are placed in the best possible position for audio clarity. The speakers can reach maximum volume without experiencing much distortion. Hopefully, laptop manufacturers will notice this and implement top-facing speakers in future models.

The Q5’s 15.6” display has a relatively standard bezel as far as gaming laptops go. Unlike the rest of the chassis, the bezels are constructed out of plastic, but this area isn’t as critical. The side bezels are 0.6875”, while the top bezel measures 0.875”. The bottom bezel is the longest, measuring 0.9375”. There are two small rubber feet on the side bezels and three long rubber feet on the top and bottom bezels. These separate the display from the interior surface when the lid is closed. The top bezel houses the 2.0 megapixel Full HD (1920×1080) webcam. Finally, Eurocom’s logo is printed on the bottom bezel in white.

The Q5’s entire chassis is almost entirely constructed out of titanium-aluminum alloy, so the edges are merely continuations of the lid and interior surface, wrapped around into shape. The front edge is plain, and only contains LED indicators for power/connectivity, charging, disk usage, and airplane mode. The Q5 is 0.74” thin, so the RJ-45 LAN port on the right edge has a small clamp that only opens when you plug in an Ethernet cable. Meanwhile, the left edge features ventilation for the Q5’s CPU. Finally, the rear edge is where things get interesting. You’ll find a red accent layer spanning nearly the entire length of the rear exhaust, giving some life to the mostly black color scheme. The exhausts vents aren’t perfectly symmetrical; right side vents feature fewer cutouts, because they only have to accommodate the CPU, whereas the left side vents are fully exposed for the Max-Q GPU.

The bottom panel looks by far the most aggressive. It’s littered with air intake cutouts, which occupy nearly half of the panel’s surface area. In between the intake cutouts, there is an angled accent spanning the length of the panel. Despite all of the cutouts, the metal construction remains robust and doesn’t fall victim to flexing. The bottom panel has three rubber feet to keep the Q5 stable; there are two small feet near the front corners and one large foot near the rear edge. The rear foot is basically one large strip of rubber, and only the far left and right sides of the foot make contact with your desk. Still, the large rubber foot is impressive to look at, and even more pleasing to feel.

The Q5’s hinges are connected to the display’s bezels, so they’re constructed out of plastic. If you look closely enough, you’ll find that the hinges feature a knurled design, perhaps to set the plastic construction apart from the rest of the metal build. The hinges are smooth and offer a fairly standard 135° of motion, which is unfortunate considering many thin and light laptops can extend at least 180°. Still, the Q5 is a gaming laptop first and foremost, so this isn’t a major issue.

The Eurocom Q5 has quite a few I/O ports for a thin and light laptop. On the left, you’ll find the DC power-in, an HDMI port, two mini DisplayPorts, two USB 3.1 Type-C ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. The right I/O features a microphone jack, a combination headphone/SPDIF jack, two card readers, the RJ-45 LAN port, and a Kensington lock.


The Q5’s display is a 15.6” Full HD (1920×1080) TN display with a 5ms response time and a 120Hz refresh rate. Eurocom also offers 60Hz IPS models in either FHD or Ultra HD (3840×2160). Unfortunately, there are no models with G-Sync.

Additional displays can be connected via HDMI 2.0 or the two DisplayPorts.

Input Devices

The Q5 features the same full-length keyboard you’ll find on all Clevo models. The keys are well spaced and feature a satisfying bumpy actuation, making for a comfortable typing experience. The keys have a translucent white font that allows the backlighting to peer through keycaps without excessive backlight bleed. The WASD keys feature a white border around the font.

The function row has a number of predetermined functions: F1 toggles touchpad functionality; F2 switches between displays; F3, F5, and F6 adjust audio; F7 opens the Project menu; F8 and F9 adjust display brightness; F10 toggles the webcam; F11 toggles Airplane mode; F12 puts the Q5 to sleep. Additionally, you can open the ComboKeys software by pressing “Fn + /” and adjust backlight levels with “Fn and *,” “Fn and -,” and “Fn and +.”

The touchpad is incredibly accurate and comfortable to use. Its surface is distinctively grainier than the rest of the titanium-aluminum construction, which is great because you won’t experience much surface drag from oil buildup. The left and right buttons are separated from the rest of the touchpad, so you won’t experience uneven touchpad depth, which tends to plague gaming laptops. The left and right buttons have a satisfying bumpy feedback. On the top left of the touchpad, you’ll find a fingerprint sensor, which can be used to log in to your Windows profile. The sensor works almost immediately, which will save you a few seconds when signing in.


The bottom panel is secured to the chassis with 11 screws. Once those are removed, you can easily pop off the panel from the rear edge, giving you access to the interchangeable components. On the far right, you’ll find a SATA slot, which you can slip a HDD into. Near the front edge, you’ll find the Q5’s 60 Wh battery. Right next to it is an M.2 2280 slot. A separate M.2 2242 slot is located just above the battery, below the GPU exhaust fans. Next to the M.2 2280 slot, you’ll find the Killer Wireless-AC 1535, which handles wireless connectivity. Above that rests two DDR4 memory slots.

The Q5’s cooling solution is split into two portions. On the right is the CPU heat sink, which has two heat pipes leading to the exhaust fan on the top right. The GPU’s cooling spans nearly the entire length of the Q5, with the GPU heat sink in the middle and three heat pipes drawing heat towards two exhaust fans on the left side of the Q5. Normally, the cooling solution is combined, with heat pipes being shared between the CPU and GPU. We’ll see whether the separated pipes produce better thermal conditions.


Pressing “Fn + /” will launch ComboKeys, which is pre-loaded on most Clevo systems. From here, you can create macros, track statistics, and adjust backlight settings. The keyboard is split into three sections: left, middle, and right. The lights can be adjusted to any color in the RGB spectrum. Additionally, there are special settings, such as breathing, color cycling, and a left-to-right wave effect.

MORE: Best Gaming Laptops

MORE: Gaming Laptop Previews

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Mophie Powerstation Plus XL review: Sleek design and fully capable

Mophie made a name for itself with its battery-pack cases for smartphones years ago. As the company grew, so did its product line. Portable batteries are a natural extension of Mophies product offering.

We tested the Powerstsation Plus XL, a 12,000mAh (46.056Wh), lightweight battery pack. The $99 pack includes a cable that’s dual purpose, with a removable Lightning adapter for Apple devices and a Micro-USB adapter for everything else. There’s also a standard USB-A port on the pack.

The built-in cable tucks into the edge of the pack, wrapping around roughly half of its perimeter. Removing the Lightning adapter to convert to Micro-USB is a breeze. A single Micro-USB port on the opposite end of the cable is used to charge the pack itself.

A power button and four indicator lights make it easy to quickly check on the charge level of the pack, and see how far along it is when being charged itself.

Included in the box is the battery pack and a short Micro-USB cable you can use to charge another device via the standard USB port, or charge the battery pack.

Using our testing procedure, we found the Powerstation Plus XL to have an amazing 93.41 percent efficiency rating. This is the highest rating we’ve seen on any of the battery packs we’ve tested. We were able to verify the 5V/2.1A output with testing equipment.

You won’t find official Qualcomm QuickCharge 2.0 or 3.0 support, sadly.

The downside side is that our testing revealed a pack that doesn’t always charge at its advertised 5V/1.8A rate. Instead, the unit we tested charged at 5V/0.8A, taking a total of 12 hours to reach capacity. For a pack of this capacity, it shouldn’t take that long to refill. A secondary test showed the pack charged at the advertised rate, cutting charge time in half.

YouTube restricts 'creepy' videos aimed at children

YouTube is to restrict the availability of videos showing children’s characters in violent or sexuality scenes if they are reported by viewers.

Last week, a blog post by writer James Bridle highlighted how YouTube was still being swamped by bizarre and indecent videos aimed at children.

The site has already barred such videos from earning advertising revenue.

YouTube said its team was “made up of parents who are committed to improving our apps and getting this right”.

‘Something’s wrong’

The problem of video-makers using popular characters such as Peppa Pig in violent or sexual videos, to frighten children, has been widely reported.

However, Mr Bridle’s blog post went deeper into what he called the rabbit hole of children’s content on YouTube.

He gave examples of videos aimed at children that were not necessarily violent or sexual but were sinister, “creepy” or otherwise inappropriate.

Often it appeared that the videos had been algorithmically generated to capitalise on popular trends.

“Stock animations, audio tracks, and lists of keywords being assembled in their thousands to produce an endless stream of videos,” he said.

Many used popular family entertainment characters such as Spiderman, and Elsa from Frozen, and had been viewed millions of times.

“Someone or something or some combination of people and things is using YouTube to systematically frighten, traumatise, and abuse children, automatically and at scale,” he wrote.

YouTube has already barred such videos from earning advertising money when they were reported by viewers, to try to remove the incentive to produce them.

The company said it would now also give them an age restriction if they are reported by viewers, so they cannot be viewed by people under 18.

Age-restricted videos are blocked from appearing in the YouTube Kids app, which is primarily curated by algorithms.

They also cannot be viewed on the YouTube website unless people are logged in with an adult’s account.

However, a report in the New York Times found that inappropriate videos have previously slipped through the net.

YouTube says it uses human reviewers to evaluate whether flagged videos are appropriate for a family audience.

In his blog post, Mr Bridle said he did not know how YouTube could stamp out the problem.

“We have built a world which operates at scale, where human oversight is simply impossible, and no manner of inhuman oversight will counter most of the examples I’ve used in this essay,” he said.

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