Tech & Gaming
PC Pro

PC Pro February 2017

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
Read More
12 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
never mind the money-makers; here’s to the risk-takers

I’M GOING TO CHEAT. While Jon Honeyball, Davey Winder et al restrict themselves to the first PC they bought in our feature on p46, I’d like to honour the Sony VAIO 505 that I first used in 1999. Tiny enough to slip unnoticed into my rucksack, beautiful enough to turn heads, it’s the only laptop I remember with real affection. Even after such a long time, I can remember why I loved it. Partly because it was everything the then-dominant beige tower PC was not, but also because of the innovation embodied in this desirable object. Sony’s pursuit of miniaturisation had created something truly amazing. I mourned when Sony stopped making laptops in 2014. One of the great innovators had left town, meaning we wouldn’t be seeing crazy laptops such as the…

1 min.

Alexa “I’m Alexa and I’m designed around your voice. You can ask me to play music, answer questions, get the weather, sports scores and much more.” Cortana “I’m your PA. You can tell me the things that interest you and I’ll keep them in my Notebook. That way, I can make suggestions and keep you up to date.” Google Assistant “Searching for oneself can take a lifetime, but a good place to start is classic rock.” Despite probing, it refused to answer any more questions. Siri “I’m Siri. But I don’t like talking about myself.” When pressed on what he actually did… “I can do so many cool things. Check it out.”…

5 min.
can microsoft teams take up the slack?

MICROSOFT IS ATTEMPTING to reassert itself at the centre of workplace culture with the launch of Teams – a competitor to Slack, Basecamp and the new breed of workplace communication tools. Teams is a real-time messaging system, designed largely to replace email for inter-team communication. It offers both chronological and threaded messages, Skype voice calls, and integrates with the full gamut of Office 365 apps including Word, Excel, OneNote, Planner, Power BI and Delve. The move is Microsoft’s attempt to regain control of business communications, a something that’s been eroded with upstart tools such as Slack, Basecamp and Yammer, which Microsoft bought for more than $1 billion in 2012. However, according to analysts, although the addition of Teams will boost the company’s Office 365 subscription offering, Microsoft may struggle to persuade companies to…

2 min.
cash in the attic?

EARLY APPLES Combine rarity, age and a cult following and you have tech collectors’ nirvana. The original Apple 1 computer, built in a garage in 1976, is perhaps the most sought-after old PC. The machine that originally sold for $666.66 is so rare that when it does go on sale, the bid prices are ludicrous. INITIAL PRICE: $667 WHAT’S THAT WORTH TODAY? $3,351 COULD NOW FETCH: $905,000 GOOD RETURN? 135,785% PIONEERING PCS First sold in 1974, many credit the MITS Altair 8800 with kick-starting the home computing rush. Combined with low production volumes, its historical import has seen it become increasingly collectable. Initially sold in kits, components and full machines attract bids from collectors and museums. INITIAL PRICE: $439 WHAT’S THAT WORTH TODAY? $3,198 COULD NOW FETCH: $5,000 GOOD RETURN? 1,038% THE PODFATHER The iPod is highly collectable if the model is right…

4 min.
are we being brainwashed by bots?

WHO ARE MOST LIKELY to sway your political opinions? The media? Friends? Gary Lineker’s Twitter feed? In fact, it appears chatbots could have a major influence in shaping social opinion, according to researchers. 2016 has seen Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and Apple provide developers with tools that allow them to develop chatbots – and they’re being used to build marketing engines and political weapons. In the wake of the US elections, it became clear that campaigners from both sides had used a variety of botgenerated content to shape the discussion. According to research from Oxford University, Donald Trump’s campaign team managed to generate five times as much Twitter traffic than his rival in the final days of the campaign. “The use of automated accounts was deliberate and strategic throughout the election, most clearly with…

6 min.
paying a social media premium

Facebook may have put the brakes on an insurance company examining customers’ social media habits as part of its risk assessments, but firms are already crawling all over such data when setting premiums. As well as increasingly fitting black boxes inside vehicles, insurance companies are keen to get a clearer picture of their customers’ habits – particularly first-time drivers – and believe social media delivers the customer lifestyle data they desperately seek. Admiral, for example, recently sparked concern when it announced “firstcarquote”, a tool that offered young drivers a discount if they were willing to share their Facebook data with the company. Admiral planned to analyse the language and content posted by potential customers to see if there were signs of indecisiveness, overconfidence or other characteristics, good or bad. The tool would compare…