Tech & Gaming
PC Pro

PC Pro No.290 - December 2018

The UK’s biggest selling PC monthly magazine, and your source of professional IT news, reviews and tests. Combining in–depth industry comment and analysis with rigorous product testing.

United Kingdom
Dennis Publishing UK
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£4(Incl. tax)
£31.99(Incl. tax)
12 Issues

In this issue

3 min.
embrace the right medium for the right job

I DOUBT MANY people will read Paul Ockenden’s column this month without suffering a shudder of recognition (see p113). In it he explains how he’s using a five-year-old scanner to fight against ever-growing piles of paper, and having just completed a clear-out of my office, I’m tempted to follow suit (I especially like his approach to dealing with the daily post). Because there’s no disputing one fact: paper is as big a pain as it is a boon. Naturally, I love paper. I scrawl daily notes into a Leuchtturm1917 notebook that then becomes an archive of my year, and you may have noticed that PC Pro is primarily a paper magazine. Paper is both tactile and permanent in a way that nothing else can match. The downside is obvious: space. I spend…

1 min.

Barry Collins Whether you want to protect your privacy or stream the BBC abroad, Barry reveals which VPNs you can trust – and why you should be wary – from p30 Mark Newton Find out how Mark went from being a 3D printing novice to creating a gigantic 3D replica of an Orkney archeological dig on p116 Gareth Ogden After using 15 very different tablets for a month, Gareth delivers his verdict on which you should buy in our uber group test from p74 Nicole Kobie A breath of fresh air – that’s what Nicole hopes to deliver, courtesy of three startups seeking to reduce pollution in urban areas. Find out how on p126…

4 min.
eu’s terror takedown “unfeasible” for smaller providers

SMALL WEB HOSTS, ISPs and sites will be forced to make “unfeasible” changes to their businesses or risk severe fines under EU proposals aimed at reducing terror-related content online. Under proposals designed to restrict extremist content – a problem that’s also being targeted by the UK government – web companies would be forced to remove flagged material within an hour of notification or instead face fines of up to 4% of their annual turnover. While the main focus of the plan are web giants such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, there’s no get-out clause for smaller operators, who would struggle to finance the changes. “Looking at the draft, it wouldn’t just cover the big platforms – it covers hosting service providers and that’s defined by the facilities that a company provides, not by…

1 min.
five stories not to miss

1 UK snooping ruled illegal by human rights court The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the UK’s huge online surveillance systems – exposed by Edward Snowden in 2013 – were illegal. According to the court, the programmes, which included “population-scale interception”, were incapable of keeping the “interference” to what is “necessary in a democratic society”. 2 UK government pushing for compulsory backdoors The UK government – and its “Five Eyes” allies (see p30) – has called for mandatory backdoors to be applied to encryption. A statement said countries “may pursue technological, enforcement, legislative or other measures to achieve lawful access solutions” if technology companies did not provide access. 3 Microsoft under fire over Edge adverts Microsoft riled its critics when an Windows 10 update included pages that effectively warned against using Firefox or…

4 min.
ifa 2018 pick of the products

Acer Aspire Z 24 all-in-one PRICE From £900 AVAILABILITY October There’s life in the all-in-one yet, with Acer announcing a slick 24in machine at its IFA press event. We had a chance to play with it at the show, and confess to being a mite smitten: it’s super-slim at 11mm, boasts Alexa integration via four far-field microphones, and should be pretty powerful thanks to support for eighth-generation Core i7 chips and up to 32GB of Intel Optane memory. Let’s hope it lives up to its promise when it lands in our lab. Toshiba Portégé X30T PRICE From £1,249 AVAILABILITY October Toshiba knows how to make brilliant business laptops and this detachable comes darn close to perfection. We genuinely enjoyed typing on both its keyboards thanks to their 1.4mm travel – the main keyboard, which includes a second…

6 min.
rare earth mining puts tech in china’s hands

When Tim Cook stepped in at the eleventh hour to persuade Donald Trump not to impose Chinese tariffs on his company’s products, he had good reason not to further provoke the Chinese. The global tech industry remains dependent on China when it comes to critical rare earth elements, a situation that could lead to production lines grinding to a halt. The scale of the risk is highlighted by the variety of tech where manufacture would be impossible without one of the 17 rare earth minerals for which China holds more than 80% of the world’s supply. “Neodymium, for example, makes the strongest permanent magnets [NdFeB] – used in all sorts of equipment from direct drive motors in electric vehicles, speakers in mobile phones and computer hard disk drives,” said Professor Frances Wall, a…