Tech & Gaming

Computeractive 548

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

How polite are the British? Microsoft says we’re the most civil country online (see page 8), which may surprise those who think our national discourse has become more aggressive in the past few years. I’ve always suspected that beneath our good manners lies a fierce determination to get what we want. When talking to companies for example, we can tell when we’re being messed around, and will fight our corner – perhaps using more pleases and thank yous than citizens of other countries. This good-natured persistence will serve you well when following the advice in our Cover Feature (page 50). Your ISP may fob you off at first, but calmly stating your desire for a new router, while shrewdly pointing out the attractive deals on offer from rivals, should make them think…

11 min.

Govt tells Ofcom to stop ISPs ripping you off Telecoms watchdog Ofcom has been told by the Government to fix the problem of loyal phone and broadband customers being ripped off by higher bills. It has been set this challenge as part of the Government’s first ever Statement of Strategic Priorities (SSP) to get “a better deal for consumers”, as well as boost mobile coverage and increase broadband investment. Typically, customers who stick with the same ISP or mobile provider after their contract ends pay more than new customers attracted by discounts. It’s estimated this “loyalty penalty” costs customers £1.3 billion a year. The Government said it will consider passing stronger laws if Ofcom believes its current powers don’t go far enough. The regulator recently proposed that ISPs should be forced to send letters…

2 min.
in brief

GOOGLE RELEASES ITS FIRST CHROME THEMES Google has released the first ever official themes for its Chrome browser, letting you change its colour. The 14 styles include ‘Just Black’, ‘Banana’, ‘Honeysuckle’ (pictured) and ‘Pretty in Pink’. You can install them from the Chrome Web Store: www.snipca.com/30686. UPDATE iPHONE TO FIX FACETIME FLAW Apple has updated iOS on iPhones and iPads to fix a FaceTime security flaw that let people listen to and see you without you even accepting their call. If you’ve yet to install the update (12.1.4), do so by tapping Settings, General, Software Update, ‘Download and Install’ (pictured). THREE OFFERS UNLIMITED 4G DOWNLOADS Phone network Three has launched its first home mobile Wi-Fi package to offer unlimited downloads. Called HomeFi, it provides broadband to the home via 3G and 4G, instead of cable.…

3 min.
is the bbc’s news website killing local papers?

When The Harlow Star closed earlier this year, the local MP noticed the impact immediately. Robert Halfon, a Conservative MP who chairs the Education Select Committee, said elderly people were so starved of local information they rang his office for news updates. Many older people don’t have access to online news, he added, and feel “isolated” when their local paper rolls off the presses for the final time. He was accused of overreacting by calling it a tragedy for the local community, but it’s being repeated throughout the UK. The figures are startling. Since 2007 a quarter of local papers – about 320 – have closed, capitulating in the face of plummeting sales and decimated advertising revenue. “Since 2007 a quarter of the UK’s local papers have closed, capitulating in the face…

1 min.
protect your tech

WATCH OUT FOR… Scam voice messages as .EML files What’s the threat? Sophisticated criminals are sending phishing emails containing voice messages as attachments, with subject lines such as ‘PBX Message’, ‘Voice:Message’ and ‘Voice Delivery Report’. The voice message is saved as an .EML attachment (see screenshot), which is itself an email. Clicking it shows a message that claims to come from RingCentral, an online phone system used by many companies. The message lists details about the voice message to make it appear genuine, including the time it was made, how long it lasted, the caller’s country code and part of the caller’s number. It appears as a preview in Outlook, making it look more legitimate still, while the ‘Terms of Use’ link goes to RingCentral’s actual website. To hear the message you have to enter your…

1 min.
new tools

Boosting your privacy online requires compromises. If you block all online trackers and cookies, for instance, you’ll stop some websites remembering who you are, forcing you to type your login details every time. On the plus side, they won’t know where else you’ve been online, so you’ll see fewer personalised adverts. This is the balance you need to consider when deciding which trackers to allow in Firefox. The browser’s updated Content Blocking options come in three levels of strength (see screenshot): the default ‘Standard’ setting, which will be right for most people; the ‘Strict’ level, for users “who want a bit more protection and don’t mind if some sites break”; and ‘Custom’, for those who want “complete control” over what trackers do. To access these settings, click the small ‘i’ icon in…