Tech & Gaming

Computeractive 558

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

Search the web for ‘quotes about mistakes’ and you’ll find loads of motivational mantras about how making mistakes is an essential part of being successful. Without mistakes you never improve, they say. Or, it’s not the mistakes that matter, but how you respond to them. My own motto is to never be embarrassed by mistakes if you’re doing something new. It’s particularly true in computing, which can be brutally complex and rife with conflicting advice. I’ve committed many of the mistakes we highlight in our Cover Feature (page 50), but never felt bad because I didn’t know any better at the time. These are the interesting mistakes: the ones you don’t realise you’re making. Eradicate them, learn what to do instead, and you should get better. I’ll be fascinated to know what you…

2 min.
microsoft will close accounts inactive for two years

Microsoft may delete your accounts if you don’t sign into them for two years, following a change to its Services Agreement that applies from 30 August. Currently, Microsoft waits five years before closing an “inactive” account. It’s telling users about the change in an email from ‘msa@communication.microsoft.com’. It has the subject line ‘Updates to our terms of use’ (see screenshot) and the heading ‘Your Services Agreement made clearer’. The email says that “if you continue to use our products and services on or after 30 August 2019, you are agreeing to the updated Microsoft Services Agreement”. This means you don’t need to do anything to agree to the new policy – simply signing into your account after 30 August will suffice. The email contains a link to the full Services Agreement (www.snipca.com/32086), but there’s…

1 min.
pay firefox £5 a month to block web adverts

Mozilla is launching a version of Firefox that removes adverts for a monthly fee. It’s working with ad-blocking firm Scroll on Firefox Ad-free Internet (www.snipca.com/32088), saying it’ll cost $4.99 a month (likely to be £4.99 in the UK). Adverts will be blocked only on sites that Mozilla has partnered with. It says it has teamed up with “some of the world’s greatest publishers to bring you a better journalism experience”. Mozilla says that payments are shared “directly with the sites you read”. It adds: “They make more money, which means they can bring you great content without needing to distract you with ads just to keep the lights on”. Subscribers will also get audio versions of articles, synced bookmarks across devices, and an app that helps you “find and finish great content”. Would you pay…

1 min.
usb creator regrets not making sticks easier to plug in

The inventor of the USB standard has said he regrets the awkward design that makes it infuriatingly easy to plug sticks in the wrong way round. Ajay Bhatt (pictured), who led the team at Intel that created USB in the 1990s, admitted that its biggest failing is its lack of “reversibility”. Talking to National Public Radio’s website in the US, he said USB could have been reversible, but it would have required more wires and circuits, doubling the cost. He said Intel realised how much frustration the design would cause, but still opted for rectangular connector and a 50-50 chance of plugging it in correctly, rather than a round connector with less room for error. Bhatt told the website: “In hindsight, based on all the experiences that we all had, of course it was…

1 min.
thou shalt not tweet abuse online

The Church of England has issued ‘digital commandments’ to tackle abuse on social-media sites, and promote a “positive” atmosphere online. One commandment echoes Christianity’s “golden rule” by urging followers to speak to others on the web as you would speak to them face to face. Another asks people to “be respectful” by not posting or sharing content that is “sexually explicit, inflammatory, hateful, abusive, threatening or otherwise disrespectful”. It’s asking Christians to sign its Digital Charter (www.snipca.com/32020), which contains nine “community guidelines” based on truth, kindness, welcome, inspiration and togetherness. People can promise to stick to the guidelines by posting a link online. The guidance acknowledges that social media provides “many joys”, such as being an “immediate, interactive, conversational and open-ended” way to discuss issues. But it warns about the “downsides” if users “do…

2 min.
in brief

VIRGIN PRICES RISE BY DOUBLE INFLATION Virgin Media is increasing its broadband, TV and phone prices by an average of 4.9 per cent, even though the rate of inflation is only 1.9 per cent. Most customers will see a rise of between £2.50 and £4.50 a month, starting in either their September or October bill. Prices won’t increase for elderly and disabled customers on the Talk Protected package. UPDATE MALWAREBYTES TO FIX WINDOWS FLAW Malwarebytes users should check that the software has been updated to fix a problem with Windows 10. The antivirus program was disabling Windows Defender in PCs that had installed the May Update (version 1903). Malwarebytes updates automatically, but confirm by clicking the updates option and checking you have version 3.8.3 or later. Alternatively, download the latest version from www.snipca.com/32028. CHROME…