PC Magazine January 2020

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

1 min
getting fit together in 2020

Welcome to our January issue. What better time to concentrate on fitness than the traditional month of New Year’s resolutions? Technology entered the realm of health and fitness quite a while ago, though. For instance, check out the “Fox Exerciser for Women,” a weight-pulley machine from the early 1900s (photo courtesy of Archive.org): Today’s fitness devices are, well, a bit more sophisticated. At PCMag, we review all kinds of wearable trackers, from the simple and inexpensive (such as the Fitbit Inspire HR, $79) to the sophisticated and pricey (say, the Apple Watch Series 5, $399). We evaluate them for design and comfort, battery life, sensors and features, and accuracy. With a tracker, you can simply count your steps, or you can get daily activity tallies, count miles run and laps swum, track your…

3 min
farewell, windows 7

I don’t know what the big thing is with everyone having trouble with Windows 10. I used 7 for years, then went to 8 and dumped it (crap). Enter Windows 10, and I have really had no problems with it. I keep my computer up to date, and it works fine. The only problem is that, as an older person, it takes me a while to figure some things out. But that is not Microsoft’s fault; it’s just a fact of getting old (70-plus).—Wendy Hamilton Would not a good full-featured suite such as Bitdefender safeguard Windows 7 machines forever?—DaveNLR No. [Bitdefender] is for system protection. Windows updates are to actually provide fixes and security to the operating system itself, which no antivirus can ever do, as they are designed to protect file…

2 min
scientists create bone-inspired structure for stronger 3d printing

Most people will break at least one bone in their lives, but just think about all the stress your bones experience without breaking. Scientists from Cornell University, Purdue University, and Case Western Reserve University have taken inspiration from bone to create more durable 3D-printed structures. This could eventually make 3D printing viable for high-stakes applications such as construction and aircraft design. Neither bones nor 3D-printed objects are completely solid—that would make them too heavy. In 3D printing, projects often make use of various “infills” to make the structure stronger. In bones, the strength comes from spongy structures called trabeculae. In both 3D printing and bones, the key is to distribute the load evenly. Trabeculae consist of vertical plate-like struts and horizontal rod-like structures that act as columns and beams. When you’re young,…

4 min
a closer look at samsung’s the wall microled tv system

I’ve been waiting to see more of Samsung’s The Wall TV system since it was first revealed at CES two years ago. Instead of using an LCD or OLED panel, The Wall uses individual LED clusters to form its picture, like much larger (and much more pixelated) video signage. It shows a great deal of promise, but its size and scope have kept it out of reach of consumers. During my recent visit to Samsung’s headquarters in South Korea, though, I finally got to see The Wall up close. Samsung set up a demonstration and test screen measuring approximately 150 inches diagonally and configured like a 16:9 4K TV. This would be the most “standard” setup for The Wall, but a modular design makes it remarkably flexible. A unit consists of…

2 min
2019: the year ransomware feasted on the us public sector

In the US, ransomware attacks impacted at least 103 US government agencies largely at the state and municipal levels, according to Emsisoft, a leading provider of ransomware decryption tools. In December, the company published a report detailing the ongoing ransomware epidemic, which has transitioned from targeting consumer PCs to preying on poorly secured computers at large organizations—particularly those within the public sector. In case you’re unfamiliar, encrypting ransomware—the most common type—takes away your access to important documents by replacing them with encrypted copies. Pay the ransom, and you get the key to decrypt those documents (you hope). The attacks have been grabbing headlines over the past year for shutting down IT services at city governments, schools, and health providers. The City of New Orleans recently reported getting hit with a possible ransomware…

6 min
facial recognition is tech’s biggest mistake

People with my job need to be interested in—and at least passingly excited about—new technology. Sure, we need to maintain distance from the hype cycle (3D TV, anyone?), but a creeping cynicism that depletes enthusiasm for new, exciting ideas is just as toxic. So when Apple debuted Face ID, I stayed mostly quiet about it. Now that Google has followed suit with facial recognition built into its Pixel 4 phone, I think I can safely say that I’ve given my dislike a chance to mellow into a fine, nuanced hatred. Facial recognition is bad. It’s really bad. It’s a poor system for verifying identity or intent, it’s overly permissive, and it trains us to be okay with having our faces scanned. In conclusion, facial recognition in consumer technology is the end…