Tech & Gaming
PC Magazine

PC Magazine August 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.

United States
Ziff Davis
Read More
SPECIAL: Top pick! Save 40% on your subscription!
12 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
we need a new space treaty

There is only one law in space, and it’s called, appropriately enough, the Outer Space Treaty. Approved by the United Nations in 1966, its primary purpose was to prevent the militarization of space. Back then, the U.S. and the Soviet Union were at the height of the space race, and what the world feared most was the prospect of nuclear weapons orbiting miles overhead like so many swords of Damocles. The treaty forbids any government to place weapons of mass destruction into orbit and requires the moon be used only for “peaceful purposes.” It also makes states liable for “any damage caused by their space objects.” Pick up your stuff, nations! So far, the treaty has worked. The problem is, lots of things have changed since 1966. The Outer Space Treaty…

3 min.
advice from the experts

REAL RANSOMWARE? On two of our computers at home (Windows 10) we had what I think is ransomware come up on the screen. I immediately did a hard shutoff and waited 5 minutes and turned them back on, and the ransomware message did not come back. On one of the machines, this happened before I installed the free Malwarebytes anti-ransomware. On the other, [Malwarebytes] was installed, and I got the screen. I assume it’s still on the machines. Can you tell me the best way to deal with this? —Nick Bagileo NEIL RUBENKING’S REPLY: Shutting down the machine was smart. I’m wondering if you may be encountering the kind of ransomware that’s just a bluff. Did it show up in the browser? Look at the screenshots in this article: "How to Call Ransomware’s Bluff."…

2 min.
google’s deepmind teaches ai to navigate a parkour course

Google began as a search and advertising company, but its behind-the-scenes efforts have increasingly veered into machine learning and AI. That’s useful not only in search but also in driverless cars, computer vision, and more. The search giant’s acquisition of DeepMind several years ago boosted its AI research into overdrive, and now we’re beginning to see the benefit in Google’s products. A new research project from DeepMind shows just how far a learning AI can go by teaching a simulated humanoid how to navigate a parkour course. Teaching a machine to walk has proven tricky, because there are so many variables involved. Companies such as former Google subsidiary Boston Dynamics have succeeded in creating programs that tell robots how to walk, but it’s difficult to prepare for all possible situations: When…

1 min.
audi a8 can take over during traffic jams

Sitting in a traffic jam isn’t exactly enjoyable—but the 2018 Audi A8 might change that. Audi said the car is the “first production automobile in the world to have been developed for highly automated driving.” A feature called “AI traffic jam pilot” can take care of driving in slow-moving traffic up to 37 miles per hour, on highways where a physical barrier separates the road. To activate the system, press the AI button on the center console, and the car will handle accelerating, steering, and braking. “The driver no longer needs to monitor the car permanently,” Audi said. “They can take their hands off the steering wheel permanently and, depending on the national laws, focus on a different activity that is supported by the car, such as watching the on-board TV.…

3 min.
movies—brought to you by satellite

When standing in line for the latest blockbuster, you’re probably thinking about getting a good seat or digging into some popcorn. But if you’re in one of the nearly 30,000 theaters serviced by the Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition (DCDC), take a moment to glance up at the roof—because your movie will be beamed in via satellite. You likely don’t give much thought to how your movie gets to the big screen, but in the case of DCDC, digital files from movie studios are delivered to a processing center in Burbank, CA and sent via high-speed fiber connection to DCDC’s uplink in Arizona. Encrypted files are then transmitted to a satellite that’s in geosynchronous orbit above the U.S. This satellite beams movies to dishes on theater roofs. To learn more, PCMag met DCDC…

2 min.
what we love most this month

KANO PIXEL KIT Nearly a year after its successful Kickstarter campaign, the Kano Pixel Kit is now available to the masses. The LEGO-like light board has 128 pixels that bring to life your own games, data, artwork, and music. You get a box of buttons, boards, batteries, books, and more. Build the Pixel Kit yourself, then connect it to a computer (Mac or PC) and download the Kano App. The program uses storytelling and game mechanics to simplify coding; it features more than 40 challenges and access to a handful of tools (including the ability to track the International Space Station). And each pack includes access to Kano World, an online community platform where millions of lines of code and DIY instructions are shared. $79.99, www.kano.me SONY KOOV Koov is a coding and robotics…