Windows 10 is Microsoft’s most important operating system release since Windows 95. It’s also the most ambitious, bringing new technologies, new ways of working across multiple devices and a whole new upgrade model. Here’s everything you need to know, according to the latest information available-so when it's time to upgrade you’ll be ahead of the curve.
Saturday, 20 June 2015
If your inbox is clogged with unasked-for mail and you’re worried your data is being shared without your consent, Jonathan Parkyn shows you how to find out what you’ve been opted into and get opted out
Opt out of Google Ads
Why am I opted in?
Arguably the world’s most successful advertising company, Google lets you use lots of services for free. The catch is that you’re automatically opted into a bunch of ad-related arrangements that use data about you, your personal interests and browsing history to target you with online ads.
Thanks to GPS and the web, it’s possible to track virtually anything across the world. Rob Beattie rounds up some innovative tracking tools you can use for both practical and fun purposes
Track air traffic across the world
With its beautifully simple interface that superimposes thousands of planes on a world map, the mesmerising Flightradar24 (www.flightradar24.com) is every schoolboy’s dream. Double click a plane’s icon and the sidebar reveals its route, altitude, speed and landing time; and with Google Earth installed, you get a 3D view from the cockpit that enhances the illusion of flying the plane. Flightradar24 is searchable, too, so you can not only find a specific flight but also see planes being routed from a particular airport.
Wayne Williams reveals the best free tools and quickest methods to take the hassle and tedium out of maintaining your PC without cutting corners
It’s important to give your PC a regular spring clean to keep it running efficiently, and there are plenty of excellent free clean-up tools that you can download to perform the job. Unfortunately, system maintenance is time-consuming and we’ve all got better things to do than watch progress bars creep across the screen, so it’s often a task that gets put off or skipped altogether.
In this feature, we show you how to spend less time and effort removing clutter, freeing up space, fixing errors and optimising your system, without compromising the thoroughness of the clean-up. We explain how to speed up your PC-optimising software; offer faster alternatives to built-in Windows tools; suggest new ways to clean your computer that you might not have tried before; and tell you what doesn’t need to be cleaned because it won’t benefit your system and may even have an adverse effect.
Why we need variable refresh rate technology, and how it works
Pradically every display today runs at a fixed refresh rate, typically 60Hz. However, LCD panels don't require a fixed refresh rate to function; this standard is simply a legacy that dates back to vacuum tube-based televisions and CRT monitors. For gamers, fixed refresh rates are a problem - while the panel updates its image at fixed intervals, GPUs deliver frames at varying intervals, as the work required per frame changes constantly. If a frame is delivered mid-refresh, you get screen tearing, a phenomenon caused by the monitor displaying part of the old frame and part of the new one. It's particularly evident in scenes with lots of motion, and it can be very distracting.
There are still plenty of PC users that use membrane keyboards, and for a variety of reasons. They're usually more affordable than keyboards with Cherry MX switches, plus they're much quieter as well. Several manufacturers have grappled with the latter point over the past couple of years, with some of them creating their own switch types. The Golem Series K50 is a case in point. It uses scissor switches, but i-Rocks has tweaked the switch design to make them more gaming-friendly.
Natec's Genesis GX88 looks like it's bristling with features compared with similarly priced mice, and the same goes for its specs list too. The 8,200dpi Avago 9800 laser sensor offers adjustment between 200 and 8,200dpi in 200dpi steps, so fine-tuning the sensitivity is certainly a strong point. What's more, the resolution for both the X and Y axes can be tweaked independently.
Earlier this year, Valve introduced paid mods to its Steam Workshop pages, but it was removed a few days later after a massive online backlash. Rick Lane investigates the fallout
On 23 April, a new feature was launched on Steam that allowed modders -amateur creators of modifications for various games - to charge real money for their work. Starting with Bethesda's Nordic RPG Skyrim, the plan was to gradually roll out this scheme across a range of games with extensive modding communities, in cooperation with the developers of those games.