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PC Magazine

PC Magazine April 2017

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.
not in our image

God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. —Genesis 1:27 Did God make man in his image, or did mankind make God in its image? Whichever side you come down on, it’s a lot easier to observe that humans have been trying to make robots that look us for quite a while. The ability to recreate human shape, movement, and ultimately, intelligence has occupied technologists for the last century—longer if you include the alchemical, metaphysical, and purely fictional attempts. What is Frankenstein’s monster, if not a kind of biological robot? But the next step may not be toward a more humanlike robot. In fact, the most effective robots may not look like humans at all. The term robot was coined…

2 min.
the neutral zone

I think doing away with net neutrality is a very bad idea. While there are some negatives that I don’t particularly like, there need to be some checks and balances in place so that an ISP doesn’t start to throttle things on my connection for whatever willy-nilly reason they want. People seem to have forgotten that Comcast, a few years back, practically extorted money from Netflix before net neutrality came into play. What’s to stop other big ISPs from doing the same to other services? —SparkStormrider I hope this man is removed from the FCC. He is blind, deaf and mute to the real world. He turns his back on the population and will be hated. Petition, fight, and call your regulators to thwart any attempts he will try to stop the…

3 min.
first look at imax’s vr experience centre

IMAX is going all in on virtual reality, with its first flagship consumer-facing IMAX VR Experience Centre opening its doors in Los Angeles earlier this year. Five more are planned for 2017 in locations including New York City, the U.K., and China, with an eye on Japan, the Middle East, and elsewhere in Western Europe. PCMag checked out the LA space. The partnerships are stellar, and the content demos—which include flights of fantasy (a trip to Tatooine created by ILMxLABs), film-related experiences (John Wick from Sony), and VR showcases (Starbreeze, Survios, and Ubisoft)—are best of breed. But the execution is a bit odd. It looks far more futuristic in the marketing photos; in person, IMAX VR in LA looks like a home electronics showroom. There’s also a pervasive refurbished-car chemical odor. When…

1 min.
who should your self-driving car save in a crash? you or pedestrians?

More than 75 percent of participants in a recent study said that it would be more moral for a self-driving car to sacrifice one passenger rather than to kill 10 pedestrians. But most said they would not buy an autonomous vehicle if it were programmed to sacrifice its occupants. The study, published in the journal Science, asked hundreds of people a series of questions about the ethics of autonomous vehicles. Among the findings were that participants did not think that the car should sacrifice its passenger when only one pedestrian could be saved, but their moral approval increased with the number of lives that could be saved. “This is the classic signature of a social dilemma,” the study’s authors wrote, “in which everyone has a temptation to free-ride instead of adopting the…

2 min.
police get warrant for entire minnesota city’s google searches

People expect a certain degree of privacy online, but records of our movement across the internet are stored in various repositories. Police from the Minnesota city of Edina have obtained a wide-ranging court order that grants them access to a lot of it. The warrant — amazingly, approved by a judge in Hennepin county — instructs Google to make data belonging to anyone in the well-to-do suburb available to police. Police in Edina, a city of 50,000 on the outskirts of Minneapolis, have been looking into a wire fraud case. The suspect was attempting to swipe $28,500 from a branch of Spire Credit Union using a fake passport, and investigators think they know how to narrow their list of suspects. They need to know who in Edina might have searched Google…

2 min.
atari 8-bit fans: this is your next read

I’ve got a shelf full of computer history books, many of which I love and have reread several times. But I wanted to write one that focused on the first real computer I grew up with, the one that eventually led me to the tech industry and journalism: the Atari 800. We’ve covered vintage computing many times before on ExtremeTech (PCMag’s sister site). I wrote a retro gaming feature back in 2010, and a 2017 rewrite of that is in the works. But I’ve always wanted to do a deep dive on Atari’s 8-bit computer, its peripherals, and most important, its games. It was an astounding machine. It was the first real gaming PC, one with graphics coprocessors and hardware sprite animation. It blew the contemporary competition out of the water, and…