PC Magazine September 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
calling all diyers

Here at PCMag, we dedicate a large percentage of our time and resources to (surprise) reviewing PCs: the ones that companies build and sell. But now and again, we love to get our hands on some killer components and put together our own machines, just the way we want them. Hardware Analyst Matt Buzzi and Executive Editor John Burek are perhaps the most skilled among us at this kind of project. The pair has live-streamed computer builds of various kinds numerous times. For our September issue, we challenged them to build a gaming PC without spending more than $1,000. In our cover story, you can follow the process they went through in deciding on just the right parts for this machine and doing the build itself (yes, it was also live-streamed—you can…

2 min
too-soon tech

Driverless cars don’t have to be perfect. They just have to be much more reliable than humans, which they will definitely be. —beachmike Wrong…. A lot of aspects of “new technology” often have to be better that the technologies they replace. And that’s before you even start looking at the economics. For example, if the automobile were invented today, you’d never get approval to have vehicles drive around with 10-20 gallons of highly combustible fuel in them that causes them to burst into flames upon collision….Driverless cars don’t just have product safety and regulation hurdles. They have legal framework hurdles. The same changes in liability laws that have made manufacturers in other industries more and more liable even when their products are misused need to be dealt with, including issues with owners…

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2 min
curiosity rover in 7th year on mars, still going strong

It was a crazy idea on the face of it—sending a $2.5 billion robot to another planet with a complex rocket-sled contraption to get it safely to the surface. It worked, though, and Curiosity began its exploration of the red planet six years ago. As the rover begins its seventh year on Mars, let’s look at how it got there and where it’s going. Curiosity is simply the payload of a mission known as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), which had been in the planning phase since 2004. This spacecraft contained the rover and its landing apparatus, which was responsible for the most accurate landing Martian landing of any known object. MSL launched from Earth on November 26, 2011, and the landing took place on August 6, 2012. Most of the discoveries…

1 min
magic leap’s mixed-reality headset is finally on sale

After years of secret development and billions of dollars, you can finally buy a Magic Leap mixed-reality headset. The Magic Leap One Creator Edition, which the company calls a “spatial computing” device, has officially shipped in the US for $2,295. The system comes with three pieces: a headset, called Lightwear; a small, wearable computer called the Lightpack with an integrated CPU and GPU to render the headset’s graphics; and a handheld controller that looks similar to that of an HTC Vive or other VR headset controller. For the past seven years, Magic Leap has built up endless hype and increasing skepticism along with more than $2.3 billion in funding from the likes of Alibaba, Andreessen Horowitz, Google, Warner Bros., and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The secretive startup has also struck content…

2 min
android pie promises smarter, simplified interface

Google's Pie has arrived. The company has rolled out the Android 9.0 update to its Pixel smartphones. Other handsets from Sony, OnePlus, and Essential will begin receiving the update by the end of this fall, Google announced. Android Pie (simply called “P” until this rollout) includes a whole host of new AI-powered features that are designed to make your phone smarter and to simplify the experience of using it. Perhaps the most visible change is a tweak to Android’s three navigation buttons on the bottom of the interface: Google has replaced them with a pill-shaped on-screen home button and a diminutive back button. To see a preview of the apps you’re using, all you need to do is swipe up from the home button. You’ll be presented with a carousel view of…

2 min
what russian trolls are tweeting about

The 12 Russians indicted earlier this year for meddling in the 2016 US presidential election had day jobs at the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a St. Petersburg-based company and Russia’s most infamous troll factory. Two Clemson University researchers, Darren Linvill and Patrick Warren, used social media tracking software to collect 2,973,371 tweets from 2,848 Twitter handles traced back to the IRA. The result, published and analyzed by data-driven journalism outlet FiveThirtyEight, is the most comprehensive view we’ve seen to date of Russian trolls’ social media activity. The researchers’ breakdown identified some interesting trends by sorting the troll accounts into different categories based on their tweets. While the most popular category was simply non-English tweets at 28.2 percent, right behind it were right-wing troll accounts, which made up 24.2 percent of the almost…