PC Magazine June 2018

PC Magazine provides lab-tested reviews, detailed tips and how-tos, insightful feature stories, expert commentary, and the latest tech trends to help you at work, at home, and on the road. And for a limited time, we're offering a copy of Breakout: How Atari 8-Bit Computers Defined a Generation with new subscriptions. This brand-new book is all about what made Atari's computers great: excellent graphics and sound, flexible programming environment, and wide support.

United States
Ziff Davis
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2 min
ota power? bring it on!

During the holidays last year, I visited family in Pittsburgh. I’m fortunate, because I can do just about every part of my job remotely. So I brought along my work laptop—a MacBook Pro—to work on a few projects while I was there and stay a bit longer with my siblings. Well, maybe I’m not that fortunate. I forgot to pack my charging cable and power adaptor. No one at home had a MacBook, so borrowing was not possible. This meant I had to beg my brother-in-law to drive to an Apple Store to buy a new charger and cable for me—“yes, I need to charge it up today!”—and they aren’t cheap. That’s a long way of getting to my point: The need to plug devices into outlets to charge them is a…

3 min
what’s your backup?

I still use LTO-3 tapes for long-term archival. A 400GB tape is $10 and should last over 30 years; can’t beat that, IMO. Of course, LTO-3 is pretty old now; the latest version is LTO-8, which uses tapes that hold 12TB each. But those setups cost thousands and are too expensive for most people. For less important things and normal backups, I use an external hard drive. —Catweazle I had a near-death experience recently (digitally speaking of course): A virus or such deleted the content of nearly all of my directories, something I’ve never seen before. The directory structure was left intact but empty of user files. The only thing that saved me was an offline backup to my RAID server, which was powered down. I didn’t really lose anything important, but…

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2 min
the end of the attention economy

Fast Forward is a series of conversations with tech leaders hosted by Dan Costa, PCMag’s Editor-in-Chief. The idea that “the media is dying” is so clichéd that a Twitter account chronicling the media’s alleged demise is now 10 years old. But this time is different, according to Aaron Shapiro, CEO and founder of Huge, a New York-based digital marketing and consulting firm. Machine learning, big data, and consumer exhaustion with traditional advertising formats are rewriting the rules of digital media—and there will be casualties, Shapiro said during our chat. “There is a very big shift happening,” Shapiro said. For the past 20 years, digital media has been based on capturing our attention. We got all this stuff for free in exchange for service providers selling our data to advertisers. But now, “advertising isn’t…

2 min
goodbye sms? google makes a push for ‘chat’ standard

Google is making a big push for unified messaging on Android, an effort now known simply as “Chat.” Chat, or Rich Communication Services (RCS), seeks to do away with SMS and replace it with RCS, which allows for features SMS cannot currently handle, like lengthy messages, group chat, high-resolution photo sharing, read receipts, and typing indicators. RCS has been in the works for several years, but in a lengthy exclusive, The Verge reported that Google has had some success getting more carriers and phone makers to adopt RCS. In 2016, T-Mobile and Sprint were on board, but AT&T and Verizon only signed on “in the past few months,” The Verge says. RCS now has 55 global carriers, 11 phone makers, and two operating system makers signed up, according to the GSMA, a…

1 min
lego makes learning fun with duplo stories alexa skill

Lego has launched an Amazon Alexa skill that’s designed for children aged 2 to 5. The free skill, which is available via any Amazon Alexa-enabled device including the Echo and Echo Dot, offers fun stories that encourage your kids to participate using the Lego Duplo toys they already own. The stories are designed to spark your little one’s imagination while helping to teach them numbers, colors, and language skills. There are 10 stories to choose from based on new and existing Lego Duplo products. One tells the tale of a big, happy truck that gets to work on a new construction site. It encourages kids to use their bricks to build a house, then knock it down again and build a bigger one, all while practicing their language and motor skills. If…

3 min
microsoft adaptive cards let you interact inside email

Announced at Build 2018 in May, Adaptive Cards in Outlook let developers present actionable information panels and even support payments inside the email reader. I attended a session at the conference titled “Adaptive Cards in Bots, Windows, Outlook and your own applications,” hosted by David Claux and Matt Hidinger, the principal program managers at Microsoft who run the Adaptive Cards project. A key takeaway is that Adaptive Cards are not Outlook-only, and they’re not even limited to Microsoft’s platform. Built using open-source code available on GitHub, Adaptive Cards will display on the web, in chatbots, on Android and iOS mobile OSes, and via voice with Cortana. Claux and Hidinger started with a demo of a scuba company that wanted to present an interactive Card asking users where they want to dive,…