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PC Magazine

PC Magazine April 2016

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.

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United States
Ziff Davis
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12 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
¡cuba libre!

This month’s cover story is a bit of a departure for PC Magazine. We spend most of our resources helping readers choose, use, and get the most from technology products. But when Contributing Editor William Fenton told me he was going to be visiting Cuba and wanted to write about how the citizens of that remarkably isolated country were getting online, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. And when President Obama announced not long after that he, too, would soon be visiting Cuba—the first sitting United States president to do so in nearly 90 years—we knew that we’d made the right choice (and that we’d better get to work). Will spent a week in Cuba, staying in casas particulares and asking Cubans how they use technology. His story brims with…

2 min.
your emails

Tweets Not So Sweet? Thank you for your editorial concerning Twitter’s recent propensity to limit speech on their service [“Twitter’s War on Speech,” March 2016]. While I wasn’t personally aware of the specific examples that you cited, I wholeheartedly agree that free speech must be supported whether or not we agree with its content and that we must be willing to leave services that don’t support this principle.—Carlisle Herron OUR ANSWER: Thanks for your email, Carlisle. Since that editorial was written, there have been more accusations against Twitter of silencing voices on both sides of the political spectrum. Claims are that these actions take multiple forms, from outright banning (Robert Stacy McCain, a conservative vocal about his perceptions of the danger of feminism, said he was kicked out of two separate accounts) to…

7 min.
surveying apple’s rare spring crop

IPHONE SE The iPhone SE may be the small phone of your dreams. As anticipated, it’s mostly an iPhone 6s crammed into an iPhone 5s body—and because of its smaller size and lower screen resolution, it should have even better performance. At $399 (for 16GB) and $499 (64GB), it will be a test of whether people actually want smaller phones. The SE’s design is very, very similar to that of the 5s. It’s really hard to tell the two phones apart. The buttons are in the same places, there are exactly as many speaker holes, and the color of the materials looks about the same. But performance-wise, it’s ace. Gaming on the 6s is already good, but I expect it to be even better here, because the same A9 processor is pushing…

3 min.
tomorrow’s wars will be fought over digital resources

In recent weeks, the digital security discussion has been focused on a certain fruit-flavored company’s public battle with a three-letter agency. But Kaspersky Principal Security Analyst Vicente Diaz is considering the far larger, and far more complicated, fights that nations might carry on in the digital world. YOU DON’T NEED STUXNET In his presentation at the RSA Conference in San Francisco in March, Diaz made a distinction between three kinds of attacks. The first were exotic attacks, developed and deployed at great expense by nation-states. Think Stuxnet, the complex malware allegedly developed by the United States and Israel to physically disable Iranian nuclear enrichment machinery. The second were so-called “middle-class” attacks, which are assembled by knowledgeable teams of hackers. The third category encompassed all other attacks, usually carried out by individuals with little…

5 min.
is gesture the future of computing?

Computing command input mechanisms have gone from the DOS prompt to the mouse to gaming peripherals. But what’s next? Some say voice, but Siri, Cortana, and Google Now are still often comically lost in translation. Nod Labs says the future belongs to motion tracking and gesture control. “There are too many issues with voice input and speech recognition,” Nod Labs founder and CEO Anush Elangovan told PC Magazine during a recent visit to the company’s Mountain View headquarters. “You’re often in a shared space and don’t necessarily want to be overheard. Much of the time there’s too much ambient noise for the computer to be able to isolate the exact audio stream. “But gesture—quite literally on the other hand,” he said wryly, “is subtle, possible, and most interesting to work with.” And…

8 min.
what if everything were encrypted?

A s America’s mounting anxieties over terrorism run up against its ingrained mistrust of authority, the result has been a surprisingly robust debate about encryption and digital rights. Various law enforcement agencies have decried how strong encryption makes the Web “go dark” (in other words, it stymies their ability to pursue and stop potential criminals). But privacy advocates are pushing for more default encryption in order to protect the civil liberties of users who are often more than willing to exchange privacy for convenience. In many ways, the encryption debate is very particular to this exact moment in technological history. If things were to truly “go dark” on a vast scale, it would essentially take the authorities back to a pre-Internet time when it was harder to snoop remotely. Meanwhile, the…