Tech & Gaming

Computeractive 542

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

Hackers. Scammers. Spammers. Solar storms. We can give you advice on thwarting the first three, but the fourth is probably beyond us. They’re a serious threat to your computer, the Met Office recently said, warning that increased solar activity could wipe out the internet, plus much more besides. I read that as I edited this issue’s Cover Feature (page 50), and fleetingly wondered whether it was worth planning for 2019 if the Sun is plotting the biggest cyber-hack of all time. But why worry about something you can’t affect? Much better to focus on what you can improve on your computer, to guarantee it has a healthy 2019. Follow Will Stapley’s advice now to prevent a year of nasty surprises ahead. Talking of which, it would come as a particularly unsettling shock…

3 min.
not again! october update blocked over intel bugs

Microsoft has once again blocked the Windows 10 October Update (version 1809) for some users, as severe problems continue to plague its rollout. It resumed the update on 13 November after pausing it five weeks earlier to fix a number of problems, the most serious being the deletion of files from users’ computers. But on 21 November it ceased the update for people whose monitors had Intel drivers that were “accidentally” turning on unsafe features in Windows. Users who had installed the upgrade reported problems with sound on their PCs. Microsoft said Intel released the affected drivers to computer manufacturers in September, and is now working with the company to “expire” them. It confirmed that “after updating to Windows 10, version 1809, audio playback from a monitor or television connected to a PC via…

1 min.
google cracks down on abusive adverts with chrome update

Google is updating Chrome so that the browser blocks all adverts on websites that break its rules, after admitting a previous crackdown didn’t go far enough. In November 2017, the company said it would start blocking adverts that led to “abusive experiences” online. These include intrusive pop-ups that intentionally trick people into performing actions they didn’t want to do – such as playing a video or downloading a program. They can also fool users into handing over personal details. But a year later, Google has admitted that the protections fail to block more than half of these harmful experiences. In a blog post (www.snipca.com/29785), the company said version 71 of Chrome, launching in December, will remove all adverts on “the small number of sites with persistent abusive experiences”. It didn’t name any sites…

1 min.
age checks for web porn delayed – again

Age checks for internet porn have been delayed again to give websites more time to implement them, the Government has admitted. They were meant to be in place by April this year, but were knocked back to the end of 2018 as ministers and porn sites struggled to agree on how the system would work. Now Digital Minister Margot James has said the scheme should be running by Easter 2019, adding that it gives the porn industry enough time to get the age-verification technology right. Giving evidence to the Science and Technology Select Committee, James admitted that discussions on introducing age checks had taken longer than she wanted, partly because ministers had to agree details with the British Board for Film Classification (BBFC), which will enforce the system. The UK adult-entertainment industry is expected…

2 min.
in brief

EE NAMES 16 CITIES GETTING 5G EE has revealed which six cities will first receive its 5G service next year: London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Manchester and Birmingham. Ten more cities will follow, including Bristol, Hull, Leicester and Glasgow. However, coverage will be limited to certain areas in each city, such as London’s Hyde Park, the Manchester Arena and Belfast City Airport. Visit EE’s site for details: www.snipca.com/29727. RENEW PASSPORT AT POST OFFICE ONLINE You can now renew your passport online at one of 725 Post Office branches, but it costs £15.40 more than doing it yourself using the Government’s service (www.snipca.com/29720). The new £90.90 service includes the Post Office’s Check & Send feature, which makes sure there are no mistakes with your application. Find your nearest branch at www.snipca.com/29719. AMAZON TO SELL APPLE DEVICES…

1 min.
ee and virgin fined millions for early-exit contract fees

Virgin Media and EE have been fined £13.3m by Ofcom for overcharging customers who wanted to leave their phone and broadband contracts before they ended. The regulator’s rules state early-cancellation fees must be made clear, and they must not be too expensive to deter people from switching to a rival provider. Ofcom said around 400,000 EE customers were charged too much, paying £4.3m more than they should have. Almost 82,000 Virgin customers were overcharged, totalling just under £2.8m. At £7m, Virgin’s fine is the larger of the two. Ofcom reduced EE’s fine from £9m to £6.3m to “reflect that EE admitted the breaches and agreed to settle the case”. Virgin said it “strongly disagrees” with the decision, and plans to appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal. Tom Mockridge, head of Virgin Media, said the…