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Tech & Gaming
Computeractive

Computeractive 592

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!

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Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Dennis Publishing UK
Frequency:
Biweekly
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26 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
from the editor

When does justified concern become paranoia? It’s a tough question to answer in the internet age because there are so many different ways you can be attacked. For example, you’re not being paranoid if you think you’ll be targeted by email scams. If you’ve never had one, you must’ve spent the past 25 years living in the Mariana Trench (internet connection there is terrible, I’ve heard). But neither are you paranoid for worrying that hackers might be intercepting and reading your emails. It’s not as constant a threat as scams, but imagine the damage a malevolent fraudster could do if they knew what you’ve said in emails to your loved ones, bank manager, doctor or solicitor. Using end-to-end encryption is the safest way to protect your messages. We start our Cover Feature by…

3 min.
october update brings new start menu for windows 10

Microsoft has launched a new-look “streamlined” Start menu as part of the Windows 10 October 2020 Update (codenamed 20H2), which is now being rolled out to computers. It has replaced the solid colour background for tiles with a partially transparent background, saying it creates “a beautiful stage for the redesigned app icons like Calculator, Mail and Calendar”. Microsoft claims the new design makes the icons stand out more and are therefore easier to see when you cast your eye over the menu. On its blog (www.snipca.com/36389), Microsoft shows how the menu looks before and after this change (see screenshots above). It also claims the new menu “looks great in both dark and light themes”, but gives instructions to add more colour to the dark theme if you need it. Press Windows key+I to…

1 min.
flight sim’s blocky landmarks replaced with google images

Players of Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 2020 game are replacing some of the poorly rendered images with more accurate pictures from Google Maps. While the game’s graphics have been widely praised, Microsoft did have problems recreating some landmarks. These include Buckingham Palace, which resembles an office block in the game, and Sydney Harbour Bridge, which was shown as an ordinary road bridge. Microsoft made these images using data taken from its own Bing Maps. Gamers are now modifying these images using complicated techniques that extract the data from Google Maps to produce more accurate images. In one of the first examples shared online, a blocky Melbourne Cricket Ground has been made to look more realistic (pictured above). UK landmarks added or improved by gamers include Stonehenge (pictured left), the Angel of the North, York Minster,…

1 min.
taking photos on phones while driving to be banned

Motorists won’t be able to touch their phones while driving for any reason under a law the Government hopes to pass early next year, following a consultation. It would close a loophole that currently allows drivers to take photos, scroll through music playlists or play games on handheld devices. This loophole exists because these acts aren’t legally considered as “interactive communication”, which is the definition that bans making calls or sending texts. Ministers say exemptions will be made to let drivers pay for items using contactless payments if a vehicle is stationary and the goods are delivered immediately, such as at a drive-through takeaway. However, the Government has rejected calls to ban drivers using hands-free phones to phone people on loudspeaker or operate a sat-nav placed in a cradle. Roads minister Baroness Charlotte Vere,…

2 min.
in brief

ROYAL MAIL LAUNCHES 72p PARCEL PICK-UP You can now send parcels without leaving your home using the Royal Mail’s new online pick-up service. To use it, visit https://send.royalmail.com then enter your details in the Parcel Collect section. You need to print a label then stick it to the package. Royal Mail charges 72p per item collected plus postage costs, and you can send a maximum of five packages a day. Parcels are collected every day except Sunday. SKY OPENS ITS FIRST HIGH-STREET STORES Sky is to open its first highstreet stores selling all its TV, mobile and broadband products under one roof. The first store has already opened in Liverpool, with more to follow across the UK before the end of the year and into 2021. Some shops will include assistants from technology…

1 min.
talking on phones rose to five minutes during lockdown

Time spent talking on mobile phones rose sharply during lockdown, as people stayed in touch with friends and loved ones. Figures from Ofcom’s Mobile Matters survey (www.snipca.com/36330) show that the average time spent on a mobile call rose from three minutes 40 seconds before lockdown to five minutes 26 seconds in the early weeks of restrictions being introduced. But Ofcom’s survey, which looked at how around 200,000 people used their Android mobile phones between January and April, also showed that more than one in five (22 per cent) didn’t make a single call in the first 11 weeks of the year. Ofcom says this was down to the rise in alternative methods of communication. These include sending messages on apps including WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, and video-chatting on services like Zoom and Google…