Tech & Gaming

Computeractive 560

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
Read More
26 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
from the editor

It’s amazing what a good rummage can unearth. Last month, in a forgotten suitcase in the loft, I found my first ever mobile phone, bought a year before Computeractive hit the shelves. With battered buttons, a cracked screen and a snapped antenna, it’s not going to enjoy a second life as a security camera. But my four-year-old iPhone should be up to the job. If not, I’ll see whether it’ll make a good dashcam, or a remote control for my PC. These are three of 14 ingenious ways you can re-use an old phone or tablet, as Nik Rawlinson explains in our Cover Feature. Such devices aren’t as fast as they once were, but then again, who is? ‘Past their best’ doesn’t equal ‘totally useless’ – it just means tailoring your activities…

2 min.
microsoft cuts feature updates to one a year

Microsoft is halving the number of major updates it releases each year for Windows 10, much to the relief of some users who have faced persistent problems installing them. When Microsoft launched Windows 10 in July 2015, it said there would be no Windows 11. Instead, the operating system was to receive two Feature Updates every year, released in the spring and autumn, to add features and improve functionality. It called this policy ‘Windows as a Service’ (known as ‘WaaS’), to indicate the continuing nature of the updates. Many features have been added since the first update was released in November 2015 (version 1511), but recent updates have caused serious problems. Microsoft had to suspend last year’s October Update (1809) after users complained that it wiped their files. Some users have questioned whether…

1 min.
tech beats nature in war of words

The language of nature is being replaced by references to technology, research shows, leading us to lose our “connection” with the outside world. A study by Leeds University found that mentions of tweets, streams and clouds in conversation increasingly refer to their technological purpose, not their natural meaning. Modern usage of ‘tweet’, for example, now refers to social media rather than birdsong in 99 per cent of cases. ‘Stream’ refers to a small river only 36 per cent of the time. Researchers compared informal public conversations from the 1990s with today. Back then, every mention of ‘cloud’ was about the sky; that has now fallen to 77 per cent today. References to the natural meaning of ‘web’ have fallen from 71 per cent to seven per cent. The National Trust commissioned the research to…

1 min.
rural groups can build networks after spectrum freed up

Rural communities and businesses can now apply to set up their own local mobile networks after Ofcom released unused parts of the wireless spectrum. It could lead to improved connections across farms, factories and holiday parks because they’d be able to build their own systems rather than rely on existing networks, which are likely to be slower. Some areas of the spectrum under review are owned but not used by mobile-network companies, restricting coverage across the UK. Ofcom’s plan is to allow spectrum sharing, so other companies can use these neglected airwaves. The regulator is inviting applications for the 1800MHz and 2300MHz bands currently used for mobile services, as well as the 3.4-3.8GHz band used for 5G, and the 26GHz millimetre-wave (mmWave) band reserved for high-capacity 5G services. When assessing applications Ofcom will examine…

1 min.
‘live’ tiles killed off in leaked w10 start menu

Microsoft might be planning to remove Live tiles from the Windows 10 Start menu, after it accidentally released a redesigned version of the menu. The menu was part of a preview version of Windows 10 released to Windows Insiders, who receive early ‘builds’ of the operating system in order to test new features. The company said it was only meant to be seen by staff. The new design appears to replace Live tiles, which are continuously updated with real-time information such as messages, for a more traditional grid of apps (see screenshot). However, the layout is very rough and is some way off being ready to use properly. One explanation for the absence of Live tiles could be that the menu is intended to be used in Windows Lite, which is Microsoft’s long-rumoured…

2 min.
in brief

SAMSUNG FIXES BROKEN FOLDABLE PHONE Samsung says it has fixed the fault in its foldable phone that caused the screen to break and delayed its launch. The Galaxy Fold (pictured) will now hit the shelves in September, five months after it was meant to go on sale. Improvements include strengthening the hinge with new protection caps. The phone costs nearly $2,000 (£1,603) and will be sold in “select markets”. GIFFGAFF FINED £1.4M FOR OVERCHARGING Ofcom has fined phone network Giffgaff £1.4m for the “unacceptable mistake” of overcharging customers. The network admitted that 2.6m customers who bought a ‘goodybag’ bundle using pre-paid credit paid too much. Giffgaff has refunded most of the £2.9m that its customers were overcharged. Check whether you’re due a refund at www.snipca.com/32370. UPDATE YOUR iPHONE & iPAD NOW Apple has urged all…