Tech & Gaming

Computeractive 559

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

I’m still some years away from my free bus pass, but already there are many things that make me feel old. One is when a technology you remember being hailed as ‘the future’ is later dismissed as obsolete. That’s what’s happening with CDs and DVDs. Back when clouds and streams existed only in nature, these formats felt immortal. You’d feel confident saving thousands of holiday photos and videos on a disc because it was hard to imagine a time when you wouldn’t be able to access them. But software updates now render discs unreadable, while – in a case of technology outpacing what the public actually wants – most new laptops come without optical drives, trapping your memories under a layer of reflective aluminium. It’s not a problem Kieran Prendiville envisaged when…

2 min.

BBC defends BritBox – it’s like ‘modern-day DVDs’ The BBC director-general has defended charging viewers for BritBox, the new joint TV-streaming service from the BBC and ITV, due to go live this year. Viewers will have to pay £5.99 a month to watch programmes, despite having already paid the licence fee to watch them when they were first broadcast. Lord Hall said BritBox was just a “modern-day version” of having to pay for DVDs after a series was broadcast. He claimed BritBox would be better than DVDs because “it used to be infuriating when you’d seen a programme on the BBC and you couldn’t get hold of the DVD”. However, he insisted that BritBox was not the first step towards replacing the licence fee with a subscription model. BritBox, which will launch between October and…

1 min.
virgin ‘plans’ new company for rural broadband

Liberty Global, the company that owns Virgin Media, is reported to be working on plans to set up a new firm to deliver full-fibre broadband to rural areas and smaller towns. The project, which sources told the FT is at an “early stage”, would invest billions of pounds to build a fibre-tothe-premises (FTTP) network to rival Openreach’s, allowing other broadband providers to use it. At present, Virgin Media’s Project Lightning prioritises its up-to-500Mbps cable network in wealthier urban areas, allowing them to cover over half of all premises across the UK. The new company could reach an extra 2 million premises, though it would require substantial private investment, and possibly Government money. It comes at a time when smaller alternative networks like Hyperoptic, City Fibre and Gigaclear – collectively dubbed ‘altnets’ – are also…

1 min.
ccleaner sneakily makes its browser your default

CCleaner has started setting its own browser as your default when you install the program, enraging many users. Once installed, the browser takes over your file associations, meaning that it becomes your default program for certain tasks, such as opening PDFs. It changes the file type to ‘CCleaner HTML Document’ and opens the document as a web page. Avast, which owns CCleaner, says the browser is still in ‘preview’ form while it “irons out a few kinks”. But despite this, it’s still being bundled with CCleaner via two pre-ticked boxes during installation (see screenshot). The browser, which contains security features like ad-blocking, seems to have been added to version 5.59 of CCleaner, released in late June, and remains in version 5.60, released in mid-July. Furious users took to CCleaner’s forums to complain (www.snipca.com/32258). One…

1 min.
skype’s sms connect to close – switch to your phone

Microsoft is removing the SMS Connect feature from Skype at the end of August in a bid to get more people using its new Your Phone app for Windows 10. SMS Connect, which lets Android users send and receive text messages via Skype on their computers, had been previously dropped from Skype, but reappeared last year. The tool was a replacement for SMS Relay, which was available on the Skype app for Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile. Microsoft confirmed its removal on Skype’s support website (www.snipca.com/32259), saying that you’ll still be able to access all your messages and a “full history” on your phone. As a replacement, it recommends users install the Your Phone app from the Microsoft Store (www.snipca.com/32260). It lets you send and read messages (see screenshot), and view photos,…

2 min.
in brief

GOVERNMENT RETRAINS WORKERS REPLACED BY ROBOTS The Government is launching a scheme to retrain workers who lose their jobs as a result of automation. The National Retraining Scheme will be trialled in Liverpool before being extended throughout the UK. Analysis firm Oxford Economics says that by 2030 robots could replace up to 20 million manufacturing jobs worldwide. DISABLED EMOJIS COMING TO IPHONE Apple has announced new emojis to help represent disabled people better. The images, which you can send in phone messages, include a wheelchair user, a guide dog for the blind, and a hearingaid user (all pictured). They will be made available for the iPhone and iPad in the autumn. SONY SHOWS OFF FASTEST CARD READER Sony has unveiled what it’s calling the “world’s fastest” UHS-II SD card reader, claiming it transfers data at…