Tech & Gaming

Computeractive 503

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

If all ransomware attacks were as feeble as the first recorded one, we’d have little to worry about. In 1989 Dr Joseph Popp, an evolutionary biologist from Harvard University, unleashed a Trojan that encrypted only file names. The method for unlocking these was quickly discovered in the malware’s code. Nearly 30 years on, and the hackers behind the devastating WannaCry attack made no such mistake. Thousands of computers worldwide were crippled, including many NHS machines. It feels like a turning point in the fight against ransomware, because governments, businesses and organisations finally seem to realise its potential for destruction. But it will also surely inspire other hackers to target the many millions of ordinary people using Windows 10. The hack led the headlines for days, but much of what was said was…

2 min.
microsoft accidentally reveals new w10 control centre

COMMENT We wouldn’t normally be overjoyed to have yet another icon cluttering our taskbar, but this Control Centre seems like a good idea. Its popularity will depend on how much users will be able to tweak it. A Control Centre that actually gives you little control would be pointless and frustrating. Microsoft appears to have accidentally revealed that it’s planning to add a ‘Control Centre’ to Windows 10. The company included a screenshot (right) of the new section in a blog post (www.snipca.com/24528) announcing the release of Build 16199 for the Windows Insider Preview. According to Microsoft sources speaking to the website Windows Central, the Centre will be the new home for the ‘quick actions’ in the current Action Centre. These are tiles that provide one-click access to frequently used settings and options, such as…

1 min.
new ‘old’ nokia phone sells out in hours

The remake of Nokia’s highly anticipated 3310 phone sold out in many stores within hours of going on sale on 24 May. Carphone Warehouse said that it had run of out stock for the “reimagined classic”, which first went on sale in 2000. Vodafone said it still had some phones left, but confirmed that demand had been “really high”. Available for £49.99 in blue, yellow, grey and red, the phone is a throwback to the days before smartphones, Facebook and selfies. It has a 2GB camera, a battery that lasts for 22 hours of talk time, and offers limited web connectivity through 2.5G. It also contains the game Snake, a much-loved feature of the original phone. Nokia made more than 126 million of the first 3310, before phasing it out in 2005. Visit Nokia’s…

1 min.
amazon loophole refunds you – and lets you keep the item

British shoppers are enjoying a secret Amazon loophole that gives them a refund for an item without having to return it. The unofficial policy tells buyers not to bother returning items that cost under £10. Retail experts believe that the company does this because it’s uneconomical for it to handle a large number of returns and store them in their warehouses. Buyers don’t have to prove to Amazon that the item is faulty. They just have to ask for a refund in the normal way, explaining why they are returning the item. Amazon then sends the message: “We are processing the refund. You don’t need to return the item to us!” US shoppers have enjoyed the loophole for some time, but only in the past few weeks have Amazon started applying it to…

1 min.
virtual reality ‘magic’ helps dementia patients

One of the most devastating effects of dementia is the loss of treasured memories, but a new virtualreality (VR) system is helping sufferers recall events in their life. Called VirtuCare, it shows relaxing 3D scenes to users wearing an Oculus Rift headset. These include a “nostalgic” beach, a forest full of animals and dolphins playing in the sea. The aim is to trigger memories in patients when carers ask them questions related to the scenes, such as “What do you remember from visiting the beach as a child?” and “What are your favourite animals?”. It has been developed by VR designers Tribemix, based in Hitchin, and Quantum Care, providers of residential homes in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Essex. The company has released touching videos showing how people with dementia react to using VirtuCare. One user,…

3 min.
in brief

NEW TECH BADGES FOR GIRL GUIDES Video-blogging and app design could become new skill badges for the Girl Guides. They have been suggested by members of the association, after it asked the public on social media for ideas to “bring our activities bang up to date”. It’s part of a programme to make the organisation “more relevant” to the lives of girls and teenagers. WARN USERS ABOUT FACEBOOK ADDICTION Health experts have said that Facebook and Twitter should display pop-up warnings if users are on the sites for too long. In a report on young people’s wellbeing, the Royal Society for Public Health said that the sites should warn users about the dangers of becoming addicted to social media. It also called for them to monitor what people write in order to identify…