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Technology

How do I shrink the size of my phone videos?

Yanis’s Samsung Galaxy S10 shoots high-quality videos but they take up too much space

How can I compress videos so I don’t lose a lot of the quality? My phone, a Samsung Galaxy S10, makes really high quality videos but I would be satisfied if they looked like normal videos. Yanis

Videos take up a lot of space, and a lot of research goes into making them smaller. Other things being equal, a key factor is the size of the image, just as it is with still photographs. You can also reduce the file size by arbitrarily reducing the data rate or, for preference, by using a more efficient video compression system. The current favourite is MPEG-4/H.264/AVC (Advanced Video Coding), which is usually called MP4 for short. Technically, MP4 is the file container while H.264 is the codec that codes and decodes the video.

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Can I move my data to the EU before Google shifts it to the US?

Post-Brexit, Sean wants to keep his data protected by the EU’s GDPR rather than laxer US privacy laws

Given Google’s recent announcement about moving UK users’ data to US jurisdiction, what’s the best way to migrate to EU-based services? Can you download+upload or crossload your Gmail to another service? And are we in for the same treatment by Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram et al? Sean

Last week Google notified users that “because the UK is leaving the EU, we’ve updated our terms so that a United States-based company, Google LLC, is now your service provider instead of Google Ireland Limited. We’ve also changed our privacy policy to make Google LLC the data controller responsible for your information and for complying with applicable privacy laws.”

This article was amended on 28 February to correct a geographical error that placed Taiwan in the southern hemisphere

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How do I get my name to the top of Google’s search results? Jack Schofield

An academic shares his name with a notorious drug dealer. Here’s how he can raise his profile so his name appears first

I’m a researcher at a major university. Unfortunately, I happen to share my name and middle initial with an unrelated drug dealer who has been in and out of prison. My name is sufficiently rare that I’m worried that confusion might arise, because a cursory Google search tends to give prominence to negative news stories that feature him.

The standard advice online seems to be to open as many social media accounts as possible. I also have my own domain, but none of these has displaced the negative news stories in the search rankings. What should I do?Name withheld

How to get the top spot in Google’s search engine results has been a hot topic for years. It’s still vitally important to all types of business, to consultants and other professionals, bands and musicians, authors and journalists, politicians and many others. For those who can justify the fees, personal branding and “reputation management” companies do it for a living.

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How can I copy 1,400 DVDs to a new hard drive?

Harry has data backed up to DVDs, but wants to copy the files to a hard drive. Is there a quick way to do it?

Over the years, I have been backing up files to writeable DVDs. I probably have around 1,400 of them. Now I want to transfer their contents onto a single 10TB USB hard drive. Can you and your erudite readers recommend the quickest solution?

Is there a DVD recorder that can load 10 to 20 DVDs at a time and automatically copy them onto said 10TB hard drive? Also, are there any issues with the formats needed to ensure access to my data for another 10 years or more? Harry

I expect many of us still have lots of optical discs stashed away, because CDs and DVDs were the most economical way to store data for 20 to 30 years. Just cutting one disc a week could get you over the 1,000 mark, though I assume most of them would have been recopied and recycled before now.

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What’s the minimum specification for someone buying a PC?

David asks how best to tell if a PC is fast enough for community groups on a limited budget

I am working on a project that helps various groups in the community to become more PC proficient, and some clients now wish to purchase their own systems for the first time. What is the best advice to give them about specifications etc, bearing in mind their finite budgets?

A user who wants a desktop PC to deal with email and social media, office files, surfing the web and streaming some video will also need to buy peripherals, including a monitor. Some will need a printer. Often the advice will be to get the best PC possible, but they may not get the full benefit if other parts of the system are too compromised. David

Almost every PC on the market will perform basic tasks such as writing emails and browsing the web. Even cheap laptops can run Microsoft Office and its rival suites, which are relatively lightweight by today’s standards. Most can also do simple photo and video editing, though rendering and other video processing tasks can take a very long time. The problem is not so much the type of task as the resources required by the software and the size of your files.

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