PC Magazine December 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
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min
2018: a banner year for products

It’s hard to believe another year has rolled around since our last “best of the year” story. We’ve written about some remarkable technology in 2018, including artificial intelligence and its impact on, well, everything; how companies collect your personal data (and how you can keep some of it to yourself); blockchain and cryptocurrency; tech addiction; and how citizen science works in the tech age. But as you know, our primary focus is on products that you can buy here and now. We test them, review them, and help you use them. And each November, our hard-working analysts take a step (or several) back and think about the most outstanding products they’ve encountered during the past 12 months. Altogether, we review a rather stunning 2,500 products a year, so you might think narrowing…

3 min
when will bitcoin make it big?

Once companies start figuring out they can save huge on banking costs, it will go very fast. —Kul The issue is that this became a game of fools buying into the idea that [cryptocurrency] is the future. Just like the tulip bulb, Bitcoin became just that—a quick-buck commodity. Then the fools decided they wanted to get rich quick and created the bubble that caused graphics cards to triple in price. Consider the illegal deals; extortion with an untraceable currency makes this a real issue…. [Bitcoin] might have been a good thing, but the bad actors of the world, like always, ruin it for everyone. —YouWishYou Knew I wouldn’t say it’s struggling. Progress is marching along steadily. The catalyst that will cause the next major usage spike will probably be another financial collapse. Which, if…

readers input opener-ipad
8 min
are you ready for the california consumer privacy act?

Some of the most well-known technology companies are headquartered in California, which on June 28 passed the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA). The CCPA goes into effect January 1, 2020, and it’s expected to affect businesses throughout California, the United States and, in fact, the whole world. The CCPA will impact the way that businesses can handle customer data, and it’s considered by many to be the strictest data protection law in US history. If you’re feeling a sense of déjà vu, then you’re not alone. Back in May, the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect. The GDPR has been a hot topic here at PCMag. While the law was made across the Atlantic, the truth is, it’s made a mark on businesses worldwide…

3 min
astronaut mae jemison on the ‘adrenaline rush’ of space travel

Season two of the National Geographic Channel‘s Mars—which is part drama and part documentary—explores what it would take to survive on another planet. The speculative show comes courtesy of producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, who have already given us a vivid picture of the space race with Apollo 13. At the heart of the fictional Mars is the International Mars Science Foundation (IMSF), an organization formed by the world’s space agencies and private industry. Season one took place in the year 2033 and depicted the first human mission to Mars, with an Elon Musk–like character leading the effort. Season two tackles how the crew survives. The real-life challenges that the fictional future faces are handled as flashbacks of our current efforts to send a mission to Mars: SpaceX landing the first reusable…

5 min
why pc builders should stock up on components now

NZXT is a popular PC desktop case vendor, but the California-based company recently had to raise its prices. The reason? The new US tariffs on Chinese imports include PC cases. In September, the Trump administration imposed the 10 percent duty, which also covers motherboards, graphics cards, and CPU coolers from the country. As a result, NZXT had to introduce a 10 percent price increase on PC cases to deal with the added costs, VP Jim Carlton told PCMag in an interview. And building a PC could get even more expensive in 2019; US tariffs on Chinese-made goods will rise from 10 percent to 25 percent in January. “If I needed to build a system in the next six months, I’d definitely build it before the end of the year,” Carlton told us. FOOTING THE…

2 min
most people don’t even know what 5g is

Carriers are starting to make a lot of noise about 5G. But do consumers really care? Well—not so much, at least not yet. A new survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers reveals that most people still don’t even know what 5G is. Just 46 percent of the 1,000 US internet users ages 18 to 64 who were polled by PwC last month were familiar with the term “5.” Awareness was highest among males and those living in urban areas. But when they learn that 5G—the next generation of wireless network technology—is expected to deliver faster data speeds, lower wait times, and improved reliability and may become a replacement for their home internet, consumers are into it. “Nearly everyone” surveyed found the idea of 5G appealing; 62 percent called it “very appealing.” About a third of respondents…