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Maximum PC

Maximum PC February 2020

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Maximum PC is the magazine that every computer geek, PC gamer, or content creator should read every month. Get Maximum PC digital magazine subscription today for punishing product reviews, thorough how-to articles, and the illuminating technical news and information that PC power users crave. Maximum PC covers every single topic that requires a lightning-fast PC, from video editing and music creation to PC gaming; we write about it all with unbounded enthusiasm for our collective hobby.

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United States
Future Publishing Limited US
13 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
a sign of things to come

SURPRISES ARE RARE in the tech world. So much needs to be up and running for modern silicon to be manufactured, that major breakthroughs coming from leftfield are almost unheard of. Still, knowing how something is made and comprehending the underlying technology is one thing, but whether the hardware delivers on the promise is often another. Take the arrival of Intel’s Xe graphics processors—we know they’re coming, we know how the three GPUs will be configured in terms of core counts, and can even guess at some of the features on offer, but we don’t know how they will perform in the real world. We’ll hazard a guess that they’ll probably be able to play Crysis, but how a bout the latest games? We’ll have to wait and see how that…

3 min.
open-source smart home

AMAZON, APPLE, GOOGLE, and the ZigBee Alliance have joined up to form Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP), with the aim of developing a framework for the integrated smart home. The ZigBee Alliance was formed in 2002; its main work until now was to look after the ZigBee standard of lowpower radio and personal area networks—the kind of gear the smart home needs. (The name is from the dance honeybees do when returning to the hive, if you were wondering.) This new organization has a simple enough goal: to produce a standard opensource, royalty-free, certified Internet protocol for the smart home. There is a mess of standards at the moment—most gear uses a proprietary system, and so is tethered to a home network using dedicated proxies and translators. The plan is…

2 min.
anyone ready for ccpa?

ON THE FIRST DAY of the year, the California Consumer Privacy Act came into effect, and it looks as though almost nobody is ready. At least there is a six-month grace period before enforcement begins in earnest. The law applies to all companies serving California residents that have an annual revenue of $25 million or more, or have personal data on 50,000 people or more, or that earn more than half their revenue from the sale of personal data. Being based in California is not a requirement; it’s where your customers are. The law states that any consumer can request to see any information a company has collected on them, and a list of all third parties that this data has been passed on to. It also gives the right for…

1 min.
twitter account hijack

IF YOU ARE RUNNING TWITTER with automatic updates disabled, you might like to review that policy. Just before the holidays, it emerged that a flaw in the system left it vulnerable to hackers. It was possible to access people’s accounts, and even post content masquerading as the victim. Twitter said that the attack was “complicated,” which is something, at least. However, the rewards were high: As well as hijacking an account, it revealed private messages. The flaw has been patched now and Twitter has directly contacted people who may have been vulnerable. There is no evidence that the bug has been exploited, which is just as well—one malicious Tweet from a high-profile account could cause chaos. One thing is clear: They may be annoying, but auto-updates are there for a…

1 min.
sonos deliberately bricks hardware

SONOS HAS COME under fire thanks to its profligate upgrade tactics, which stop your speakers from working. Sonos started a trade-up program in October, where you can get a 30 percent discount if you promise to recycle your old speakers. All good so far. However, if you check to see if your speaker is eligible, and signal that you wish to trade up, it triggers Recycle Mode. This gives you 21 days before your speakers are rendered inoperable. Before then you have to redeem your discount, order a new system, and wipe your old one. You can’t sell it or give it away—it is dead. After that it’s up to you to dispose of it, preferably recycling it locally, although Sonos has said you can send speakers back to it…

1 min.
tech triumphs and tragedies

TRIUMPHS INTEL BUYS HABANA LABS $2 billion invested in the Israeli maker of specialized AI processors. APPLE AUDIO New Apple patent is all about virtual positioning of audio, using cross-talk canceling to shift the apparent source of sound. WITCHER 3 BOOMS Netflix series The Witcher has caused a spike in the four-yearold game’s popularity, seeing a 93 percent jump in players. TRAGEDIES LYFT BANS “DICK” In an effort to remove genuinely offensive user names, Lyft has asked a number of people to stop using their real names. AMAZON RING HACKED Thousands of account details leaked, leading to unauthorized access of live feeds. NO ESCOOTERS FOR NY State’s Governor vetoed a bill to legalize electric scooters and bikes, citing safety concerns, such as the lack of helmets.…