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PC Magazine

PC Magazine December 2015

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

3 min.
nothing brings us together like tragedy

Like people across the country, I watched the events surrounding the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris unfold in real time. I toggled between U.S. cable networks rebroadcasting French cable networks that were replaying profoundly unhelpful clips of police on the streets of Paris. Twitter offered its predictable litany of rumor, real reports, and outrage. Ironically, Reddit offered one of the most digestible threads, making this one of the first massacres that was live-blogged globally. The acts in Paris will be with us for a long time, but what struck me was the pure immediacy of the coverage. At this point, we’re used to watching anchors fill and fumble through an information-free broadcast for hours. Digital media was somewhat more useful. Facebook went live with its Safety Check feature, letting its users…

1 min.
reader input

Blog Standard I’m interested in creating a blog, and since I’m new to all this, I would appreciate your guidance and input. Would you go with WordPress or Weebly, or is there possibly something else even better to use going into 2016?—Emmanuel Olague OUR ANSWER: You’re probably best off with WordPress, the king of blogging. But keep in mind that there are two WordPresses: WordPress.com is a commercial service, but WordPress.org is open-source software that you use to build a site that you can host with a wide choice of services. Weebly is very easy to set up and pretty customizable. [Be sure to check out our “Best of the Year 2015” story in this issue for more about Weebly, which we named Best Website Builder. —Ed.] Maybe consider Blogger or Tumblr, too,…

4 min.
can two new retail stores take a bite out of apple?

In the 14 years since the first Apple Stores appeared, other big technology companies have been trying—and largely failing—to capture Cupertino’s unique brand of retail magic. Will two new stores from major players make a difference, and finally convince shoppers that that Apple isn’t the only cool kid on the block? PC Magazine checked out the new Manhattan Microsoft Store and Motorola’s Moto Shop in Chicago to find out. THE SOFT SELL The Microsoft Flagship Store, a three-floor, 22,000-square-foot edifice located at Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street in Manhattan, celebrated its grand opening on October 26 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Whether you’re eyeing a new Surface tablet, Lumia smartphone, or Microsoft Band fitness tracker, the company’s latest hardware is on display, as are Signature Edition PCs, the Xbox One, Office software,…

3 min.
thanks to netflix, tv will have fewer commercials

You’re watching ads. Even in the modern-day streaming environment, with a plethora of on-demand or pay-for-access services that have limited or nonexistent advertising, TV is built around ads. The commercial break, a staple of the landscape, has only increased in length as the medium diversified from broadcast to cable and then to digital streaming. But for the first time in recent memory, TV channels might soon reduce the amount of commercials they show. Right now, broadcast and cable TV are supported by commercial content bought by advertisers. Every spring in what are called “upfronts,” networks present their upcoming programming to ad buyers who decide which shows, networks, and time slots they’d like their ad content to appear in. That’s where TV channels get their money, and, until recently, the general idea…

4 min.
inside qualcomm’s snapdragon flight drone lab

With the popularity of drones on the rise, well-known chip makers are moving beyond PCs and mobile devices to create smart components for these high-flying gadgets. Nvidia, for example, recently tipped the Jetson TX1 processor, and Intel last year awarded the $500,000 grand prize in its inaugural Make It Wearable competition to a wearable drone. In September, Qualcomm unveiled its next-generation development platform, Snapdragon Flight, which is designed specifically for the growing drone market. “The chip itself is the same as a Snapdragon 801,” explained Hugo Swart, the senior director of product management at Qualcomm Atheros, to PC Magazine during a recent visit to Qualcomm’s San Diego campus. “Then we added, on a small board, things that are needed in a drone, like GPS for reliable location, 2x2 Wi-Fi, and key…

4 min.
building brains for teachable robots

It’s not easy to build an autonomous robot with sophisticated machine learning. But what if you could buy an off-the-shelf brain to put inside your new autonomous creation? That’s what Brain Corporation in San Diego is working on right now. Brain Corporation was cofounded in 2009 by Dr. Eugene Izhikevich, and now has an R&D team with more than 20 PhDs in brain modeling, machine learning, computer vision, and robotics. It was incubated on the Qualcomm campus and did neurocomputational, brain-inspired, contract research for the company in its early years. It is still part of the Qualcomm Ventures portfolio (as are most high-profile robotics companies in the San Diego area, where Qualcomm is headquartered) but wanted to make the transition from an R&D lab to the robotics tech company it is today.…