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I have read lots of different computer magazines, but Computeractive is not only the cheapest, but also my favourite by miles. I've collected Computeractive magazines since about the fifth edition and I haven't got bored of it yet! All the other computer magazines I read are quite technical, which is interesting, but not always as useful as been told in Plain English what a product is like. I value the opinions in Computeractive and use their reviews to decide whether to buy a particular product or not. The 'Computeractive recommends...' section is brilliant, as it lists the best rated Computers, Printers & Scanners, PC Accessories, Software and Gadgets (out of the ones they have reviewed), so when you want help choosing which product to buy, even if it isn't fully reviewed in a particular edition, if it's in the recommended list it's bound to be a good buy. In every edition there are regular features as well as features. The features are always an interesting read, and help expand your knowledge on a range of topics (related to computing) and are worth reading even if it's not on a subject that really interests you. The workshops section is useful all computer users, regardless of their level of skill. They can be pulled out from every edition and kept for future reference. They are rated from Level 1 (for novices) up to Level 3 (for more experienced users). The workshops are easy to follow, as every step has a print screen to accompany the text. At the end of the workshops section is a 'hints & tips' page. I have learnt many new ways to speed up using programmes such as MS Word and Excel. My favourite section is the Q & A section. Many problems which I have just accepted as unsolvable have been answered in Computeractive. The answers are always clear and helpful. Some print screens are included to aim the more complicated answers. A great part of Computeractive, which I often refer to, is the Consumeractive section. They try and solver reader disputes with retailers and manufactures. It's always worth a read, as you never know when you might need to know your rights. It is published every fortnight, so it is usually up to date with the latest news stories and articles. There are not many annoying adverts, as so often the case with other magazines. Overall I really think Computeractive is easily the best Computer magazine available.
This magazine is really good at explaining things about computers if you are not as up to the minute with the jargon etc about computing. I have been reading it for years now and have followed the advice given for when I bought my first Windows XP computer and now on to the Windows Vista computer I have now. There are lots of different sections to the mag including lots of brilliant reviews on items that have just come out like the latest phone, laptop or some other tech gadget just arrived on the scene. It also has pages of wrk shops which take you through doing things step by step like putting in a new hard drive, or how to shange your photos using one of the free programs they have on their site for downloading. My favourite pages are the questions and answer pages which are full of everyday people asking questions that I might need to ask myself and answers telling you how to reectify an error or what to do if something isnt working properly. The mag also takes up peoples cases if they are having problems with a company like say you bought a laptop and it stopped working, it would tell you your rights and help you if you dont get any joy from the company concerned when complaining. There are news updates telling you about the latest tech news with stories like the following saga of downloading music and films from the internet plus telling you about any new viruses or worms etc. Each page has a bit at one side where they tell you what any jargon means they have used in the passages you are reading so it doesnt go above your head. Altogether a really good mag for everyone of all ages to be able to understand their computers. Please note this review is also published on Ciaounder my Ciao name of Harveydog52
Computer Active I bought my first Computer Active magazine around a two weeks ago, I seen a title File Sharing... ''How to download movies, software, music and more without breaking the law''. So I thought I would buy it to see how to download free content legally. I am not really a reader, im more a movie person. But ever since I have bought Computer Active magazine, I have been reading all kind's of computer (PC, Playstation, Xbox and Mac) magazines. What's inside the Magazine... Inside the magazine there is normally computer companies advertisements. Including Dell and other companies. There is also tips on your PC, How to's and many more interesting information on your Computer. There is a logo at the top of front cover... "Simple Clear Advice In Plain English". Which is true, I know alot on computers and I thought this is the best Pc book for people who don't know as much on computers and for people who do know alot on computers. It's a excellent magazine. Where to get the Magazine... You can get the Computer Active magazine in most news agents, Convience stores e.g Spar and Costcutters. You can buy it in Asda, Tesco's, Sainsburys. And you can order them offline with the pay monthly scheme. Where you pay monthly and they send you out a issue of Computer Active in the Post. Overall... The PC magazine I have ever bought. I have just bought one of the Dell deals inside the front cover of the magazine. A Dell mini! It only cost me £250, I will put a full review up on it when I get it and use it for a while. The Computer Active Magazine cost's around £1.70 to £2.00. I paid £1.79, and it was the best £1.79 I have ever spent.
I've been a subscriber to ComputerActive for a while now. I've always bought it since I first had my computer and it has seen my from novice level to advanced. Even now, I do not find the magazine too basic. It is filled with different interesting sections: I love reading the News and the Letters, for example. And the reviews are trustworthy. The guides cater to diverse audiences of different levels and there is a focus on the readers, who input quite a bit into the magazine. It costs more than it used to, but they have been giving out useful software free with every issue and it is still cheaper than rival magazines. This is not on a disc, but by download, which I think is a good idea. The magazine is more compact as a result, you don't need space for loads of jewel cases and it must have a lesser impact on the environment.
I'm an irregular reader of Computer Active - mostly buying it when I'm off on holiday to give me something to flick through whilst on the plane. I used to buy it a lot more in my younger days, but feel as though I've out-grown the magazine now. Computer Active claims to give readers a plain English guide to computers and you can't really disagree with that - all technical details are nicely explained and even the most inexperienced of computer users will be able to follow the features and guides contained within the magazine. But for me that's its downfall - I'm an experienced user and I feel as though some of the articles are well below my level of expertise. To me it comes across as too simplistic and aimed too much at the older generation and inexperienced users. But, then I suppose I'm not quite their target audience. Saying that, I do still like the magazine - it's cheap at only £1.79 per fortnight and does have a pretty decent news section that keeps you up-to-date with the computer industry. There's lots of reviews of everything computer-related, including the latest hardware, software and peripherals. There's also a handy workshops section (where they give you step-by-step instructions on how to do certain things - try new software, clean your mouse etc) as well as a large letters and help section. However, like the rest of the magazine, these are all rather basic.
I highly rate Computer Active magazine. I have been reading it for years and have always found the magazine very informative and up to date in the latest advances in the word of computers. I particularly like the advice both in the magazines and on their website. I am not a computer expert and this magazine is good at explaining the in-depth world of computers. There is often a helpful explanation of the many abbreviations used in computer talk. I was particulary impressed in a recent issue where the magazine gave away free software samples to programs like Mindmap which i now use all the time for my studies. The magazine provides vital advice for computer security and how to fix major problems aswell as providing detailed reviews of new released software and hardware. If you are in anyway interested in computers then i would recommend this magazine as a vital source of information. The magazine is quite expensive so i got a subscription as it was cheaper but i would recommend that you visit their website as you can find most of their previous articles without being a member.
computer active was one of the first computer magazines to come out which wasn't full of technical jargon, and for that i think it has always been popular. the jargon busting boxes on pages are useful because not only do they help you understand, you can learn the meanings and then quote the jargon back and sound good! computer active is good because it features a wide variety of information and topics, and works for computer users at many different levels. The pull out workshop supplements range from simple tasks such as cutting and pasting bits of text in word to editing photos using photoshop. the magazine also recommends different websites each issue which can be highly useful, and also they compare items, such as laser printers, comparing them for cost and all different features before they recommend which one they thing is the best... perfect for helping you decide which piece of gadgetry to invest in next!
Computeractive is a magazine that I have started buying whenever I see it in the shops and it has an interesting feature. The magazine comes out every fortnight and is £1.79. This price has gone up quite a lot from the start but it is still worth it. This is a simple computer magazine and is better for a beginner than a computer genius. All the articles have nice pictures and graphics and the magazine has a nice look. News This is a nice way to find out about the latest technology and is interesting to read. It is not a massive amount but enough. Reviews The magazine has a lot of reviews about the latest technology and this is really interesting to read and if you find a product you like you can research it a bit more. Workshops This section provides you with easy step by step instructions on how to do something on your PC. This varies from how to use Google Earth, to photo editing, to making your webcam a security camera. This is my favourite feature of the magazine and the workshops have different levels to show you how hard they are. Best Buys Best buys shows the products that are worth getting, how much you can get it from, a short description, what issue it was reviewed in and how many stars they give it. Exclusive Downloads This is where they give you a piece of software for free and involves going to their website and downloading it. These are usually quite good and worth buying the magazine on their own! No problem No problem is a section where readers write in questions and Computeractive answer them. This is great because you might find something out you wanted to know and is interesting to read. Conclusion There are many great features it Computeractive including some not listed here. They also have a jargon buster which tells you some of the words you might not understand. If you want a games magazine don't buy this as it has like one page about video games. The official website is http://www.computeractive.co.uk/ and this has lots of good information and reviews on as well.
Although I use computers on a daily basis at work, I always wish I could learn more and say I have sufficient knowledge to help others out. So in order to give me some assistance, I purchase the Computer Active magazine on a fortnightly basis, costing me only £1.59. This edition I am reviewing is not the current issue as I haven't got the recent one yet, but is dated 1st-14th May 08 issue 266. With the main heading "All you need FREE" and a sub heading - Get the tools you need to create documents, videos, websites, spreadsheets + more without paying a penny. - sounds great to me! Inside I found the cover story easily on page 14 through to 19, 6 pages packed with step by step instructions as well as detailed diagrams and even sections which help you decipher what some techno babble actually means. As well as this the 84 page magazine is full of news, features, product testing recommendations, workshops- (in-depth step by step teaching on areas such as security settings to improving battery performance on your laptop, and even a program you can use on your USB memory stick which you use instead of sticky notes.) parental controls/support. There are Q&A sections, competitions and gaming advice, as well as several pages of adverts - all computer based obviously, informing you of new software, consumables etc. I used to subscribe to this magazine many years ago, but forgot to re-subscribe, so just buy it now from my local newsagents. If you do subscribe you can get each issue at a cheaper price and it gets delivered through your door a day or 2 before it hits the shelves. Whether you are just a beginner or think yourself quite an expert, I suggest you try this out, I feel that it is a useful magazine which you can refer back to when needed - highly recommended A magazine you won't want to throw out, or recycle!!!
Computer Active (I'll call it CA) is a monthly PC/computer/technology magazine that can be found in most newsagents and supermarkets. It currently costs £1.59, which I feel is reasonable and seems to be cheaper than many other computer magazines, although it used to cost £1.35 before prices started to shoot up all over the place. The magazine is usually just over 80 pages long and contains varied articles for the reader relating to new development in technology, consumer law, technical advice, product reviews, etc. Although I'm no beginner when it comes to computers, I still find CA to be my preferred computer magazine even though it may be aimed at a broader category of computer users ranging from beginners to the more advanced. The language used is simple and easy to understand. Something that makes CA stand out is that throughout the whole magazine, there's always a Jargon Buster section for each section defining all the technical terms used in the articles. This means that the magazine is suitable for non-techies. Each month, CA tries to feature a special topic and it emphasizes this on the front cover. These topics can be anything on how to improve PC performance to how to find bargains online or even how to sell on eBay. I do not buy CA religiously and only do so if the topic is of interest to myself (that or if I'm out and about and fancy something to read, in which case I'd buy it regardless of the topic). Whether the featured topic is of interest to you or not, I often find there is something else interesting to read, as they do not dedicate the whole magazine to it. CA is usually broken down into the following sections: - NEWS - CONSUMER - FEATURE - PRODUCT REVIEWS - WORKSHOP - Q&A (Question & Answer) - LETTERS But the order seems to vary and some section headings can also vary, sometimes because of the theme. For example, a feature topic about digital cameras would have more reviews and possibly product tests. The Workshop is quite interesting as this is dead in the centre of the magazine and you can pull it out to keep for future reference. Only problem is that once pulled out, although still a two page spread, they aren't held together anymore as the staples remain with the rest of the magazine. Although the title of the magazine is 'Computer' Active some sections do seem to focus on consumer law like the DSR (Distance Selling Regulations i.e. buying online). In these sections, readers write in and ask for advice on what to do when they experience problems with a service or product so CA go 'Watchdog' mode and contact the companies on the reader's behalf to try to resolve the problem. Even so, they're usually Internet services and electronic and computer products that were bought. I like this section as they're interesting to read and I can learn something new about consumer law. It's also nice to be able to read reader's questions, comments, etc just like a non-computer magazine since it lets CA interact with its readers making it more dynamic and less wooden. They also have a website where you can view past workshops, view past reader technical questions, get software downloads and even buy stuff. This is a great way to complement the magazine, especially with the software downloads. They often provide address to software downloads in the magazine from their website. There are adverts throughout the magazine, and usually a loose leaflet or two in the middle with ISP broadband offers and a Computer Active subscription form that gives you a free gift if you sign up. I don't mind the loose leaflets but it's a bit annoying when they fall out all over the place so would prefer that they stapled them in but made them easy to pull out like the workshop. A lot of the adverts are full page adverts distributed throughout the magazine and there's always a whole section at the back dedicated to adverts, which I don't bother looking at anyway. The adverts are always computer related so are appropriate. There are usually reviews of gadgets, computers and software but I find them to be a bit short and often don't contain all the information I want but it's nice that they are there. They have the usual Pros and Cons summary with a star rating. Overall, I really like CA. It's easy to read, has interesting topics and useful tips. It's a lot smaller than other computer magazines but find the length of it more appealing than those of other computer magazines since I don't always have time to read long articles. It also keeps the cost down, which can only be a good thing. Thanks for reading.
When I bought my computer bundle a couple of years ago. I paid over £1,000 for it. This as you can imagine left me just a little poor. There I was with a pc I had very little knowledge about and no spare cash to afford expert tuition. What made things worst, as I had bought a bundle I had quite a few programs that I had no idea about. For instance, the pc I first used was a very old thing out of the ark. It didn?t even have a cd writer so when I clicked on my ?Nero Cd Burning? icon that was already installed on my new pc. I could do nothing but sit and stare at it in a complete state of confusion. I don?t know about other pc?s but my Mesh came with no documents about any of the software installed, just a 50p per minute help line to call. I went out to my local W H Smith?s to find something that might help. As I was looking through the available magazines. I was amazed and horrified at some of the prices they charge. Some were as high as £6-£7. Some of them did come with some software programs but I needed help with the ones I already had. I then came across one called ?Computer Active?. It had no more software to add to my confusion. It did seem a little thinner than the others but I did notice that most of the thick ones were mainly ads anyway. I decided to buy this. At the time it cost me £1.20 although it has now risen to £1.30.I later subscribed to the magazine and now have it delivered fortnightly. This costs £24.99 for 26 Issues, which works out to approximately 96p per issue. The magazine does a few adverts in it but that is only to be expected. One of the things that impressed me most is the fact that it is written in plain English. It does sometimes use a little jargon but this is quite acceptable as on one of the pages of each article they print a panel on the side titled ?Jargon Buster? in this they explain in plain English exactly what each word means. It?s a bit like having an open dictionary right there in the book. I have fo und this very useful indeed. They run articles about different items and in each article they try and compare the items with other makes of the same type. They then print their opinion and give their recommendation on which you should buy. They do many tests on different products to see how durable they are. I remember one article they did, where they placed all sorts of computer related things from floppy disks to keyboards in the dishwasher to see how they faired. I found some of the results quite amazing. I know not many of us want to put our pc?s in the washer but it help?s you to understand just how robust these things are. In the centre of the magazine is the workshop section. In this they carefully explain how to do many different things. Such as for example in one issue they were how too. - Download and install Winamp. Compare mortgage offers with Excel. Create automatic email replies. Speak to your computer. Add and remove Window components. XP compatibility mode. These are an example for a workshop in one of their past issues. Each project is well documented and explained. It is also written in plain easy to understand instructions. Each one is rated from 1-3 according to how easy it is to do and there are diagrams to show you, so you can compare your work to the magazine to see if you?re on the right track. The last page of the workshop section is dedicated to ?Hints & Tips?. All those little thing that are so useful to know and make our computing life easier. They run features on different things. To my delight one thing they ran one on in the second issue I bought was comparing cd writing software. One of the ones they compared was Nero. They explained every thing I needed to know. I am now burning away easily with no fuss. Thanks to Computer Active. There is a game section where they explain about the theme of different games. They give all the details you might need to know , price, what you need to play it, the website where you can find it, there verdict and comments on what they think of it and even other game you might consider if that is the type of game you like. They test and compare many different kinds of software and explain them to you carefully, from art and crafts to office software. Each one is rated, priced and illustrated. They explain installing and any problems they think you might encounter. There is a net chart where they find and recommend different web site. Each site is illustrated and explained with a little information on what you might find there. They recommend a site of the fortnight. The one they think is best. There is also a download review section. Also illustrated and explained with all the info such as: - Where to find it (the web address) The type of program it is. Price. The age range it is suitable for. File size. Estimated download time at 56k. Their verdict. And finally they?re rating (how many out of five star?s). There is a question and answer section. This is where you can write to them with your problems and they try their best to answer them. If you send them a problem they can?t help with. They have a ?Readers to the rescue? part. They print your question so if other people who read the magazine have any knowledge of it, they can write in and help. They then print the question and answer in a future issue. There is a Letters section. This is where you write to them about anything that either bothers you or interests you. A good place for a grumble about anything. If you manage to write the star letter, you can win things like monitors and other computer related items. There are other compactions as well. Near the back is a list of all the things they recommend. This states: - Product. Type. Overall opinion. Price. The issue it was featured in. They?re rating and awards. Also tips for buying safely, best sellers chart, what?s in the next issue and how to contact them. The magazine contains approximately 98-100 pages. They also have a web site. Computeractive.co.uk. This just like their magazine is easy to navigate and understand. You get many downloads and links to other site?s. There is even a help line phone number but this is charged at a premium rate. I have learnt most of what I know through this magazine, which might not be any where near everything but I have certainly learnt enough to get by with out to many problems. It is also quite an interesting read. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who would like a little advice without paying over the odds for it. I hope you find this of benefit and thanks for reading.
Having tried almost every computer magazine on the shelves at one time or another, I can safely say the only one for me without a doubt is Computeractive. The reason for this? Well I myself am no expert when it comes to computers but then again I?m hardly a novice. I have read this magazine regularly since it started and have learned so much, from hints and tips both on and offline and much more valuable information. Computeractive is fortnightly and priced at £1.20 an issue, it even proudly boasts it is the only plain English magazine and this it certainly is? So lets take a peak into issue 97 and see what makes this the pick of the crop. News Round Up = = = = = = = = All the pages in this section cover all the latest new both on and offline, here you can see what the latest virus warnings are, any Isp?s that are likely to go down the pan, plus any major developments from the big names including Microsoft, this section is packed with lots of interesting up to date snippets, and in this issue is a whopping 8 pages long. Consumeractive = = = = = = = = Want to have your say, have you been diddled by a company or Isp, well Computeractive will investigate and confront them for you. This section is particularly useful as a pre-warning, others misfortunes can save you a pretty penny and you can then avoid these company?s, and in this particular issue even Dixon?s comes under fire? Workshops = = = = = = In each issue you will find various workshops on a variety of topics, showing you how to do various tasks or create items on your computer. These I have found superb and have used them many a time. Workshops in this issue are the following: How to make a newsletter Start a web-based discussion Encrypt your emails Back up your files Speed up your computer Replace your pc?s battery Connect multiple pc?s to the internet Set up an email group Now each and every one of these is in numbered illustrated steps, this ensures even the novices amongst you can tackle any of them and feel confident. I think you will agree even from this selection there will be something you would benefit from being able to do. for example ?Changing the battery?, once you see it on paper it?s a doddle, and I know lots of people who have taken their computers in to get this done and paid the standard £10-15 , well no need now it will cost you a couple of quid! On Test = = = = = Every newly released product can be found here, from software to full systems all reviewed and with prices, Computeractive use their own star rating, so you can see instantly if it is a good product or not. All the reviews are extremely thorough and fully explore the pro?s and cons of any particular item, invaluable for anyone considering a purchase. Features = = = = = These of course vary from issue to issue, this week it is Internet security , dealing with the issues of young people using chat rooms and messengers and the increasing risks and need for safety. Here too are all the available security websites and addresses of preventative watchdogs to stop younger children using them such as cyber sitter. Very useful and interesting and hopefully the preventative methods will put your mind at rest if you have teenagers and young children. Feature Plus = = = = = = Again variable but this weeks is one most computer users will really enjoy, a whole feature about ?Error Messages?. All your personal favourites can be found here?Illegal operation, fatal exception , etc etc? But you do get a full explanation of each and every one, why and what it means and how to deal with them, just about everything that could go wrong with any given part of the computer is listed here. This is one I will be referring back to and frequently too. Games and Cd-roms = = = = = = = = = = = Here you find a full review of all the newly released software, screenshots, prices and an overall star rating for playability and graphics etc, plus educational titles and children?s too. Again if you are planning a purchase you can read up on it all here first. What On Earth is? = = = = = = = = = = In each issue a technology or computer term is explained in that good old plain English, this issue deals with firewalls if anyone?s interested! New Technology = = = = = = = = = Gadgets and gizmos galore here, all the latest wacky computer related items to hit the shops including this time a vibrating cordless game pad at a mere £40 from Logitech? Net Chart = = = = = A full page of recommended websites for you, on one side a different theme each time, this ones US sports. Pass, on the other six of the best including a retro volleyball game, and Budweiser, often some good ones I?ve never heard about here so worth keeping an eye on. Download Reviews = = = = = = = = = = Here the best of the freebies and another of my favourite sections, you get all the details from screen shots, the file size, age suitability, estimated download time and star rating. one you may want to try is Wintack, this creates free from sticky memo notes, which can be associated with applications and files and you can even add sound or image to them, drag them around with you and use them as a jotter to note down addresses etc, an excellent programme, downloadable from: www.computeractive.co.uk/download/1122323, this was given 4 stars but be warned its 5.6mb. Q & A = = = = Have a computer or internet query, well hers your chance send it to the computer doctor and if your lucky it will be printed with the solution, a lot of the questions asked are very relevant to most users howev er and invaluable for those problems we all suffer. Well these are the main category?s but you will still find lots more, readers letters, competitions and of course adverts, these are not too intrusive mostly on the back pages and some even useful such as Isp?s and cheap printer ink and accessories. You also receive a Cd each issue for an Isp, this time it?s Tiscali, not much use really unless you want to change. And if that?s not enough from time to time you get free mini-magazines, this issue contains one on Windows XP, very comprehensive indeed, everything you want to know about the new windows and the plus?s and downfalls, very interesting indeed if you are contemplating a switch to this in the future. So now you see just how much is packed into this fortnightly publication, no frills such as free programmes on cover discs, but everything you really want from this kind of magazine. You can either purchase it from your newsagent priced at £1.20 or subscribe either from the magazine or the website and receive 26 issues for £23.40, making it a mere 99p an issue. Visit www.computeractive.co.uk for more details, plus all the issue details are on site along with the entire download addresses from each. Maybe now you can see just how useful this magazine can be, it?s not over priced compared to its heavy going friends and is not only a good read but packed with everything you need to know and learn about your computer and the Internet.
This is the best computer magazine out there because it is aimed at everyone with a computer. From beginners to the pc world, to the experts and it also good for children. There are numerous workshop pages where you can learn loads of skills like creating an A5 booklet, removing unwanted internat files, to creating needlework from pictures on your computer. There are games pages where the magazine reviews the latest games and tells you whether they are worth buying or not. The magazine also reviews the latest high tech gadgets from the newest phones to recordable dvd players. This not one of those ordinary, black and white, boring, full of text magazines. It is very colourful and there are many pictures and illustrations which make this magazine extremely enjoyable to read. This is a very affordable magazine. In each copy there is around 100 pages of pictures and writing and it opnly costs £1.20. What a bargain! The other sections of this magazine is the question and answer page, where problems with pc's are asked annd the answers are displayed. Then the magasine reviews the latest products and gives the answer in 2 different perspectives. The geek and the luddite. I completely recommend this magazine to anyone whether they are beginning pc's or above. Thanks for reading my opinion on computer active.
Computeractive has to be one of the best Magazines around. It uses plain simple English easy to understand. There are many sections within and now has been updated and expanded. These sections include many reviews of the latest products also with news, hints, competitions and many more. I have chosen this magazine over many of others simply because it is easy to understand and covers a wide range of items ranging from the Internet to computers. Each fortnight the content is changed or updated, and the news is always uptodate. Each issue comes with around 98 pages of jam packed information. One of the best sections has to be the workshops, each issue comes with a set of workshops. Recently they showed how to format your hard drive, re-install windows and set up passwords within windows. This teaches you how to do the basics if you are a novice, and for the more advanced person it will even have something for you. All though Computeractive comes with a host of game reviews these are usually not even worthy of a skim read for me. This is because many of the games are for very young children or are those cheap games that only a few people consider buying. Another weak point is the advertisements inside. There are loads of these and many won?t be of any use to someone thinking of buying any sort of electrical equipment. As many of these Ads don?t show many products or their prices. I don?t mind Ads as long as they are informative and not just a waste of space. What would make this magazine much more desirable is a cover mount CD, but I suppose this would increase the price substantially. Although a few issues ago we were given a complimentary birthday CD-ROM. This had on it a large number of useful software applications. One of which is Zone Alarm, (firewall) this you would have to normally download off zonelabs.com for quite a long time. With ZoneAlarm Installed, your computer is effec-tively hidden from the rest, of the onlin e world. In other words, potential hackers simply don't know that you exist. There's no better security than Invisibility. ZoneAlarm also pops up a warning message every time one of your programs tries to access the Inter-net. You can see exactly what your computer is up to and decide for yourself which applications - say, your web browser -are allowed unre-stricted access, and which should always ask per-mission. You might be surprised just how many programs try to use your Internet connec-tion on the fly -and you may very well wonder why! Some, dubbed "spyware", send Information about your surfing habits back to base. The longer your computer is online, the more vul-nerable you are to hack attacks. So, it you have an ADSL or a cable connec-tion, better get protected. Another essential piece of application was download accelerator. This works in much the same way as Go!Zilla, but claims to be much faster. (Even though I have found it doesn?t work much of the time.) Hopefully they will occasionally supply a free CD. At around £1.20 it?s a bargain this price is reduced to 85p if you subscribe. I definitely have. It probably has to be one of the cheapest computer Mags in the Newsagent. Go on try it out. It comes out fortnightly, but please pray it comes out weekly.