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Date: 09/06/03, updated on 19/06/03 (13 review reads)
Advantages: Great help
Disadvantages: Bit pricey but worth it
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
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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.
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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?
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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
Games and Cd-roms
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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?
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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!
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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?
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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.
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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
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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.