Tech & Gaming

Computeractive 551

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

Over the years, many ‘experts’ have forecast the demise of the TV, predicting we’ll swap the big screen in the corner of the living room for the smaller screen held in our hands. But the TV is the great survivor of home devices. It has adapted to take advantage of the rise in streaming, keen to remind us that it has moved on and grown up since the days when it used to shut down for a few hours in the afternoon. Nik Rawlinson is old enough to remember that, so he appreciates the modern wonder of streaming everything bar your breakfast to your TV: films, photos, podcasts, radio, Skype and more. As he explains in our Cover Feature (page 50), all this is possible once you buy a Chromecast or…

10 min.

Get £8 a day when broadband down (without even asking!) You will now receive automatic compensation when your broadband or landline isn’t working, under a new scheme that kicked in on 1 April. If companies don’t fix the problem within two days of you reporting it, they’ll have to pay you £8 for every day the service remains unavailable. You won’t need to ask for this money – it will be paid to you automatically. You’ll also receive £25 if an engineer does not arrive on schedule, or cancels within 24 hours, and £5 per day for new services not starting on time. Five companies started paying this compensation from 1 April - BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet. Two other ISPs, Hyperoptic and Vodafone will begin paying automatic compensation later this…

3 min.
in brief

NEW BUDGET KINDLE HAS BACKLIGHT Amazon has added a backlight to the new version of its cheapest Kindle model - called the ‘All-new Kindle’ - letting you read ebooks in bed or outside at night. Previously the backlight was only part of the more expensive Oasis, Paperwhite and Voyage Kindles. It costs £70, which is £10 more expensive than the 2018 version, and has the same 4GB storage, letting you store around 2,200 ebooks. It’s available for pre-order before going on sale on 10 April: www.snipca.com/31076. OFCOM PROBES POST OFFICE ‘TEXT RELAY’ FEES Ofcom is investigating whether the Post Office has overcharged customers for its text-relay service, which lets deaf people communicate using telephones or textphones. Ofcom says it has information indicating that the Post Office didn’t use a discounted tariff between 2014…

3 min.
does the nhs want too much of your private data?

Among the many horrid dollops of jargon that tech experts use to bamboozle the public, ‘granular’ is one of the most insidious. You hear it a lot in reference to personal data: the more granular your data, the more categories it can be broken into. These start with general information (name, age, gender), then get more specific (address, date of birth, marital status). Most people, not being fluent in jargon-speak, won’t know whether it’s a good or bad thing, which is precisely what ‘experts’ are banking on. They cultivate then take advantage of the public’s confusion. So what are we to make of NHS Digital saying it wants to collect and share “rich” and “granular” data from patients? These aims are part of the public consultation for its Clinical Information Standard Specification,…

1 min.
protect your tech

WATCH OUT FOR… ‘Final warning’ sextortion scams What’s the threat? Scammers are sending new ‘sextortion’ emails claiming they recorded you visiting websites showing illegal sexual content. The subject line (‘This is my final warning’, see screenshot) is alarming enough to persuade many people to open the email, while disturbingly the message accuses you of visiting an “erotic website with young teens”. It claims that when you visited this site, you installed malware that allowed the scammer to record you through your webcam. It threatens to send this footage to all your email contacts and Facebook friends unless you cough up 2,000 of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. The scammer, who signs off as ‘Lavern, Anonymous Hacker’, adds: “Do not try to cheat me! As soon as you open this Email I will know you opened…

1 min.
duckduckgo in chrome

Google is worried. It fears it has grown so big that the US government will break it up to increase competition. To prevent this from happening, it’s doing two things: one is to spend more money lobbying US authorities than any other company - $21.2m in 2018 (about £16m). The other is to make it easier for people to use rival services, hoping to persuade lawmakers that it’s not a destructive monopoly. To this end, Google now lets you add DuckDuckGo (https://duckduckgo.com) as the default search engine in Chrome. DuckDuckGo relies on advertising, just like Google, but doesn’t store your personal data. It still shows you adverts in your search results, but doesn’t remember your data the next time you use it, which means adverts won’t follow you around the web. To…