Tech & Gaming

Computeractive 520

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

We had our windows updated recently, upstairs in the small bedroom that’s about to become home to an 11-month-old baby boy. They’d always been draughty, so they needed doing. It wasn’t cheap, but the work was fast and caused little inconvenience. It was certainly less painful than the Windows update Microsoft inflicted on my PC a few months earlier. I speak of the Fall Creators Update. Like many readers, I first struggled to install it, then found it had messed with my settings. And like many readers, I began to wonder whether updates are ever worth the hassle. I snapped out of it when I started using the new tools. It may not seem so initially, but each of the four major updates to Windows 10 (versions 1511, 1607, 1703 and 1709)…

2 min.
meltdown & spectre fixes damage new pcs too

Intel has admitted that its updates to fix the Meltdown and Spectre processor flaws are causing problems in a wider range of computers than previously thought. On 11 January Intel said that the firmware updates were making computers powered by its Haswell (released in 2013) and Broadwell (2014) processors frequently restart. A week later the company revealed the update was causing the same problem in newer and older computers - those powered by Sandy Bridge (2011), Ivy Bridge (2012), Skylake (2015), and Kaby Lake (2017). It means that millions of computers sold in the past year are affected. The only processor series from the past five years that appears to be immune is the latest, called Coffee Lake, released in October 2017. Intel tried to reassure users by saying that the company is…

1 min.
beware fake meltdown updates

Hackers are exploiting the advice to install updates to fix the Meltdown and Spectre flaws by offering their own fake updates that are riddled with malware. They are available on dubious websites claiming to be verified by security authorities. The malware, called Smoke Loader, was discovered by security firm Malwarebytes on a spoof German website. It urges you to download a ZIP file named ‘Intel-AMDSecurityPatch- 10-1-v1.exe’. One part of the malware is a fake update for Adobe Flash Player. Read more at www.snipca.com/26817.…

1 min.
french investigate epson for   ‘deliberately reducing printer life’

EPSON Prosecutors in France are investigating whether Epson deliberately reduces the lifespan of printers and cartridges to force customers to buy replacements. The Japanese company is the first to be investigated under a French law that makes it a criminal offence to shorten a product’s life in order “to increase the rate of replacement”. France is thought to be the only country with such a law, though the European Commission is considering similar legislation across the EU. The lawsuit has been brought by French campaign group Halte à l’Obsolescence Programmée (The Stop the Obsolescence Program). It claims Epson’s ink cartridges are programmed to stop working when there is still 20 per cent of the ink left. Laetitia Vasseur, the association’s founder, said French consumers have been “scandalised by the short lifespan of printers and ink…

1 min.
alexa, are you on pcs? ‘soon, yes!’

You’ll soon be able to use Amazon’s popular Alexa ‘voice assistant’ on Windows 10 computers after Acer, Asus, HP and Lenovo all said they plan to build it into machines released later this year. This would let you perform some tasks on your computer with your voice without having to use Microsoft’s Cortana. Alexa is currently available in Amazon’s Echo range of smart speakers, which respond to your voice commands to play music and control your heating, and give information such as weather forecasts, traffic updates and news headlines. These devices were one of the big sellers in the UK at Christmas. Asus said it will add Alexa to new models in its range of VivoBook and ZenBook laptops (the UX410UA in the latter is our new favourite laptop – see page 30).…

2 min.
in brief

SKYPE GETS TOTAL ENCRYPTION Microsoft is testing end-to-end encryption (E2EE) in the beta version of Skype. It has teamed up with encryption-messaging app Signal to launch the Private Conversations feature. This form of encryption, already used by WhatsApp, can’t be intercepted by third parties, such as hackers or security services. For now Skype will encrypt only text, files and audio messages, not video or audio calls. Read more on Signal’s blog: www.snipca.com/26738. APPLE LETS YOU KEEP OLD IPHONES FAST Apple will soon release an update letting you turn off the feature in iOS that deliberately makes older iPhones slower to stop their batteries suddenly shutting down. The company admitted in December that it slows old iPhones, but claims it’s to improve user experience so phones don’t unexpectedly freeze or reboot. Apple boss Tim…