Tech & Gaming

Computeractive 561

Computeractive is the UK’s best-selling computer magazine and your friendly guide to PCs, gadgets and the web! It includes regular news updates, project ideas, help and advice on popular reader queries, articles on anti-virus software, features on consumer rights, and a whole lot more to help you get the very best out of your computer. Get PC advice in plain English today – get Computeractive!

United Kingdom
Dennis Publishing UK
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26 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
from the editor

My first ever PC, nearly 30 years ago, was so big you could’ve used it as a fence at Aintree. It took up almost half of the floor of my tiny student bedroom. Over time, my PCs got smaller as my bedrooms got bigger, but I never dreamt you’d be able to cram immense processing power into a box half the size of a packet of Shreddies – or indeed one that fits in the palm of your hand. As Jonathan Parkyn reveals in our Cover Feature, the new breed of mini PCs make great alternatives to desktop computers and laptops. They’re fast, quiet, use little energy and, crucially, are now affordable. But as with many areas of computing, ‘mini PC’ means different things to different people. Here, we explore the many…

2 min.
microsoft: we pay people to listen to skype chats

Microsoft has updated its privacy policy to admit that it pays people to listen to some Skype Translator conversations and voice commands given to Cortana. This is different to Apple and Google, which recently stopped staff listening to recordings after it emerged that they were doing so. The decision follows accusations a week earlier that Microsoft pays third parties to listen to conversations that Skype translates into other languages, in order to test how accurate the translation is. Website Motherboard said it obtained audio recordings of conversations in which users “spoke intimately to loved ones”. They discussed personal matters, including relationship problems. One worker even said he heard a couple having “phone sex” on Skype. The fact that humans listen to calls was until now not stated in Skype’s terms and conditions, although…

1 min.
can you pass the phone please, darling?

For some using a phone while eating at a restaurant is the height of bad manners, but new research shows that many diners now demand a good phone signal as well as excellent food. In a survey from Wi-Fi-engineering firm Global Wireless Solutions, 26 per cent of Brits said they regularly browse the web at the dinner table, with 18 per cent now expecting free Wi-Fi as standard in restaurants. Over a fifth (23 per cent) said they had to leave a restaurant because the signal wasn’t strong enough, while 11 per cent complained that a poor connection had “ruined” their dinner. The survey tested signal strength at 50 restaurants, finding that O2 and EE had the highest rate of successful call attempts at 99 per cent. However, EE only completed 87 per cent…

1 min.
social-media giants face huge fines for ‘harmful’ content

Websites like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram will be fined millions of pounds for showing “harmful” videos, as part of the Government’s aim to protect children online. Broadcasting regulator Ofcom will be given new powers to investigate and penalise sites if they show videos that contain violence, child abuse or pornography. It will be able to fine sites that don’t check users are over 18, and fail to give parents controls to stop their children seeing video content that “impairs their physical, mental or moral development”. As well as fining sites five per cent of their revenue, Ofcom will be able to “suspend” or “restrict” their services in the UK. The Government says Ofcom will be given the powers in September 2020, following a consultation this summer. Ministers are also planning laws to force…

1 min.
digital cameras ‘at risk of ransomware’

Digital cameras can be hacked with ransomware to encrypt all the photos on its SD card, security researchers have warned. Experts at Israeli firm Check Point showed how hackers can infect a DSLR camera through an inserted USB stick, or via Wi-Fi if it was connected to an unsafe public network. The ransomware exploits the popular Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP), which cameras use to perform many tasks, including taking photos and updating firmware. Check Point chose to demonstrate the attack using a Canon DSLR because the Japanese company makes up 50 per cent of the camera market. It picked the EOS 80D model because it supports both USB and Wi-Fi, though most of Canon’s cameras are vulnerable. In his blog (www.snipca.com/32450), Check Point’s Eyal Itkin said that PTP’s complexity means cameras made by other…

3 min.
in brief

BBC PULLS STATIONS FROM TUNEIN The BBC is pulling all its radio stations from the audio-streaming service TuneIn (https://tunein.com) on 30 August. It said it took the decision because TuneIn wouldn’t let users sign into their BBC accounts, nor provide the corporation with data that would let it show personalised recommendations to listeners. BBC podcasts will remain available on TuneIn. Read more on the BBC’s site: www.snipca.com/32480. ONE FIFTH OF CARE HOMES HAVE NO WI-FI A fifth of care homes in the UK lack Wi-Fi, while less than half make it available in both communal areas and residents’ bedrooms, according to research from Carehome.co.uk. The site, which surveyed 2,800 care home owners, managers and care workers, called the findings “shocking”. Minister for Care Caroline Dinenage said: “I want to see every care home…