PC Magazine June 2021

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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12 Issues

in this issue

1 min
home-grown technology

When you shop, do you try to find products that are made in the US? A lot of us do, for multiple reasons. We believe in the quality of American-made goods, we want to support American companies, and we want to keep jobs here in the US as well as create new ones. But when you’re shopping for a new computer, phone, peripheral, or other tech product, finding one that’s made in America isn’t always so easy. The rise of global manufacturing means that some or all of the components of your new gadget could have been created elsewhere. Sometimes the only thing “made” in the US is the assembly, and lots of times, not even that. But how do you know? Lots of companies disclose the origin of their devices and…

4 min
intel, are you listening?

AFTER ‘ROCKET LAKE,’ 5 THINGS INTEL MUST DO ON DESKTOP TO GET ITS CPU MAGIC BACK Intel must replicate what Apple has done. The Apple M1 is the first ARM-based system on a chip designed by Apple Inc. as a central processing unit for its line of Macintosh computers. It was inspired by their ARM A14 chip. It is deployed in the MacBook Air, Mac mini, and the MacBook Pro. It is the first personal computer chip built using a 5nm process. Apple claims that it has the world’s fastest CPU core.—Richard Keyes It is past time for Intel to move its chip design to at least 10nm, achieving all of its economies in circuit density and power consumption, especially when TSMC and Samsung are already at 7nm. It boggles the mind…

3 min
database reveals over 200k people involved in posting fake reviews on amazon

Can you trust product reviews for third-party vendors on Amazon? The discovery of an open database on Amazon’s servers reveals you can’t, and it poses a big problem for the company. The cybersecurity experts at SafetyDetectives recently discovered an open AWS ElasticSearch database that contained a “treasure trove” of data related to organized fake reviews on Amazon. The database consisted of over 13 million records and 7GB of data, including direct messages between Amazon vendors and customers who provided fake review scores. In total, over 200,000 people are involved. The evidence points to this being an operation run out of China and targeting both the US and Europe. So how does it work? Amazon vendors involved in the scheme produce a list of products for which they want to generate five-star reviews.…

2 min
don’t try to pirate movies on spacex’s starlink

If you try to openly pirate movies on SpaceX’s satellite internet service Starlink, be prepared to receive a warning from the company demanding that you stop. One Starlink subscriber was curious whether SpaceX enforces its policy against downloading copyrighted content. Turns out, it does. The subscriber, “substrate-97,” posted the piracy warning notice he received from SpaceX on Reddit in May. “We must insist that you and/or others using your Starlink service refrain from illegal downloads of copyrighted content,” the notice said. “Downloading copyrighted materials without a license may lead to suspension or termination of your service, and put you at risk of legal action by the content owner.” Substrate-97, who is based in the US, said on Reddit that they were deliberately torrenting over Starlink to see what would happen. A file download…

3 min
simple phones: still great after all these years

I’ve been steeping myself in simple voice phones, which feels like getting back to my roots. Back when I first joined PCMag in 2004, reviewing bar phones and flip phones was a big part of my job. Now, they’re just a sideshow in a smartphone-dominated market. These streamlined handsets are predominantly owned by people age 65 and over and people who make less than $30,000. According to Pew, 85% of Americans own smartphones, and only 12% own voice phones. But 12% of the population is still millions of people, and pretty soon, they’ll all be shopping for new phones. Carriers are ditching old 2G and 3G networks because they use airwaves less efficiently than 4G does, and that’s going to turn a lot of older voice phones into doorstops. So I…

6 min
pokemon games never change: for true evolution, play the spin-offs

For a franchise all about monsters who evolve into superior forms, Pokemon is pretty stagnant. While Nintendo is very conservative when it comes to updating its beloved games, it also recognizes when it’s time to do something cool and experimental, like send Mario to space or turn Zelda into an open-world masterpiece. But core Pokemon games, the role-playing games that serve as the backbone for the entire enterprise, never get to be that radical. The Pokemon Company argues that because these games primarily appeal to children—any Pokemon game will be some generation’s first Pokemon game—there’s no need to overcomplicate the proven 25-year-old formula. Whether or not you buy that reasoning, it’s hard not to feel like it excuses laziness. I think fans would’ve accepted cutting down the number of Pokemon in…