PC Magazine June 2019

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
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min
taking your tech on the road

In 2016, I had the good fortune to take a trip to Iceland. What a majestic, pristine, and breathtakingly beautiful place. I loved it. I may never get a chance to visit again, though—and there are plenty of other places I want to explore. But thanks to my aged but beloved Canon EOS Rebel T2i, I have photos of Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, stunning waterfalls, Reykjavik’s street art, black-sand beaches, Icelandic horses, and even of the northern lights. (In fact, our tour guide managed to take a photo of me and a friend standing in front of the northern lights.) It’s not the same as being there, but I love to look at these photos now, as I do with all my travel pics. Nothing quite brings back the feeling and fun…

3 min
can we fix election tech?

YOUR COMMENTS First, some confirmation of what was voted for needs to be provided back to the voter. A process for correcting discrepancies. Then use of blockchain technologies to verify you’re a citizen, you’re still alive, you reside in the district you are voting in, and you are registered.—Brian Blazevich Here’s the Oregon solution—paper ballots sent out three weeks before the election. Fill them out in the privacy of your home (no four-hour lines) where you’re able to research the candidates and the issues. Mail or drop them off at a locked drop box. Tabulate with machines not hooked up to the internet. Keep ballots for any possible recount. But of course, this would let poor, minority and disabled people vote more, so of course, other states won’t use it.—excessivelyperky Paper ballots may be…

ipad-reader input-opener
2 min
intel is opening 3 project athena labs for advanced laptop testing

Back in January, Intel announced Project Athena as a way of defining the next generation of advanced laptops. Now the chip company is preparing to open the labs required to test and approve components for use in Project Athena-certified laptops. We’re expecting the first Project Athena laptops in the second half of 2019, but the project will really kick off in 2020. Intel intends to produce a spec each year that defines what a Project Athena–certified laptop should be. The key features include all-day battery life; instant connectivity, including to 5G networks; the ability to change form factors; and first-class support for AI systems such as voice assistants. Also, you’ll never have to wait for your laptop to be ready to use. Combining instantaneous performance with all-day battery life requires some serious…

6 min
no likes or comments? photo app vsco has been doing it for years

At its F8 developer conference, Facebook announced that Instagram is testing a system in which likes are hidden and can be seen only by the account holder. “We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people they care about,” said Instagram chief Adam Mosseri. This might seem like a novel approach, but rival photo-sharing app VSCO has been doing it for some time. All uploaded images are devoid of likes or comments, a move intended to help young artists express their creativity without criticism or social pressure, according to VSCO’s VP of Product, Allison Swope. At April’s Dublin Tech Summit, we spoke to Swope about this and the company’s use of artificial intelligence to…

6 min
the coolest things from google i/o 2019

May’s Google I/O is an annual event that gives Android developers a sense of what’s next for the company’s mobile operating system and a peek at the new hardware and services Google is rolling out to unlock its OS’s potential. As a result, the conference’s sessions can get a little in the weeds, but some announcements are of interest to the average Google watcher. PIXEL 3A AND PIXEL 3A XL As expected, Google launched its new mid-range smartphones, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL, which start at $399 and are designed for people who are tired of smartphone vendors demanding $1,000 or more for their latest products. The Pixel 3a has a plastic case instead of the aluminum one found on the higher-end Pixel 3. It also runs a Snapdragon 670 while the…

8 min
backstabbing, disinformation, and bad journalism: the state of the vpn industry

Among other things, I’m a VPN reviewer for PCMag, and that means I spend a lot of time trying to explain to people that I am not a paid shill or actively working against the safety of others. Why? Because the culture around VPNs and how some of these products are marketed has become incredibly toxic. Let me first say that, broadly speaking, my interactions with VPN vendors have been positive. I genuinely believe that most vendors in the VPN space are making the best product they can and are trying to do right by their customers. Yet I’ve seen flashes of bad behavior, big and small, across the entire industry. (Editors’ Note: IPVanish and StrongVPN are owned by j2 Global, the parent company of PCMag’s publisher, Ziff Davis. We’ll talk more…