I’M convinced that the reason we voted to leave the European Union was the volume of those pop-up choices about cookies they insist on giving us.
Every website, by dint of European law, has to carry a warning about the darned things, lest our human rights be compromised.
Cookies are tiny text files which let a website remember the choices you have made during your visit. That way, you don’t have to start from scratch the next time. The files are stored on your local PC, a method some believe is tantamount to spying. Technically, that’s true - but the nature of the information is so arcane that any risk is incalculably small.
Government sites are among the most zealously compliant with the EU mandate, often not even storing a cookie to remember that you have consented to receive cookies.
If, like most of us, you are content to allow them automatically, there is a simple trick that is the equivalent of having a giant “I don’t care - leave me alone” button on your browser.
A small extension to Google Chrome is all it takes to dismiss the cookies warning on each website you visit, before it has been displayed. Google’s web store has several to choose from - search for “I don’t care about cookies”, install it and declare your own mini-Brexit.
While you’re at it, explore the many extensions that hide other unwanted content from websites: those adverts offering compensation for missold PPI contracts could go, for a start.
Google is full of hidden gems like this - so, while we’re on the subject, here is one to keep in mind next time you’re showing your family photos around the room. It’s the digital equivalent of passing around prints from a Bonusprint envelope.
You will need a phone running the latest version of Android and either a smart TV or a regular one with a Chromecast stick plugged in at the back. Assuming the pictures were taken on your phone, they will have been uploaded automatically to Google Photos, a cloud service you can access from any internet-enabled device. The photos app is one of many with a “cast” icon in the top right corner - it lets you broadcast the screen of your phone to a TV on the same wifi network. Once your Chromecast or another app on your telly receives the signal, you can swipe between photos and show everyone what you’re looking at.
Casting has other uses, too, because the sound from your phone is also transferred to your TV - so if you have hooked it up to a soundbar or AV receiver, you can play music from your handset direct to your big speakers.
You can also place a phone upstairs as a high-quality child monitor, perhaps using the picture-in-picture function of your TV to keep an eye on the goings-on while, you watch Strictly Come Dancing on the main screen.
Android’s own casting feature isn’t the only way of sending pictures and music to your screen, but because it’s built in, it is the most convenient. If, however, your phone doesn’t support it, you can try a third-party app like Miracast. And if one of your TVs isn’t “smart”, a Chromecast - now only £25 on the high street - will quickly make it so.