Tech Digest daily roundup: Data centres ‘sucking Britain’s power grid dry’


A shortage of houses in London and the southeast has long been one of the most prolific problems facing the Government. Yet desperately needed fresh supply is unlikely to materialise soon in west London, after developers were last week told they may be prevented from starting new projects in the area until 2035, because the electricity grid has run out of capacity. But it isn’t just tightening energy supplies amid the war in Ukraine that is behind the de facto ban – surging demand for data centres is sucking Britain’s power grid dry. These warehouse-sized buildings full of computer servers absorb so much electricity that the Greater London Authority (GLA) told housebuilders it may be more than a decade until new developments in Hillingdon, Ealing and Hounslow can be sustained by the grid. Telegraph 

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has been urged to do more to help broadband and mobile customers who pay a “loyalty penalty” for staying with their provider. Some long-standing customers pay more than new customers for the same service and Citizens Advice wants action taken. In 2021, Ofcom estimated switching could save people £83 a year on mobile bills and £61 on broadband. A Citizens Advice survey of 3,087 UK people suggested up to one-in-seven may be paying a “loyalty penalty”. Citizens Advice told BBC News the survey suggested one-in-three broadband customers and one-in-10 mobile customers with bundled contracts – who pay for their handset and airtime together – could be affected. BBC 

With stories of hackers selling personal information in bulk on forums becoming more common, it can be stressful to send your device for repair. Yes, you could wipe your phone, but then you have to go through the hassle of restoring it afterwards. Now, Samsung has introduced a solution for that issue in the form of a new function called “Repair Mode.” According to a Korean announcement first spotted by SamMobile, you can activate the new mode under “Battery and Device Care” in Settings. Samsung didn’t explain the technology behind the feature, but when activated, it will hide your personal information, photos, messages and linked accounts. Engadget

Just days after the Pixel 6A’s launch, Google’s rolling out an update to fix an issue preventing users from unlocking the bootloader and performing mods, according to a report from Android Police. The change is bundled within the Pixel 6A’s first update, which Google just started releasing last week. In short, a bootloader is a piece of software that loads the operating system (OS) on a device when it turns on. Gaining access to the bootloader on Android can give you full control over your OS in a process known as rooting. It also allows you to install modded versions of Android, called ROMs. The Verge

Liz Truss supporter Nadine Dorries is facing a backlash from colleagues for sharing a “distasteful” and “dangerous” doctored image on social media that shows Rishi Sunak about to stab Boris Johnson in the back. The culture secretary – a staunch Johnson loyalist – retweeted a modified image from a film, which had been altered to show the outgoing prime minister’s face imposed on the character of Julius Caesar and Mr Sunak’s on that of Brutus. Greg Hands, a business minister who is backing Mr Sunak in the race for No 10, told Sky News on Sunday that he was “sure Liz Truss would disown this kind of behaviour”, as he described it as “appalling”. Yahoo!

Debris from a rocket that boosted part of China’s new space station into orbit has fallen into the sea in the Philippines, the Chinese government has announced. The China Manned Space Agency said most of the final stage of the Long March-5B rocket burned up after entering the atmosphere. Earlier the agency had said it planned to allow the booster to fall unguided. The location of the “landing area” cited by the announcement is in waters southeast of the Philippine city of Puerto Princesa on the island of Palawan. Sky News 

Chris Price
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