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PC Magazine

PC Magazine December 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.
the best we’ve tested

Every tech magazine and website comes out with a “best products of the year” list at around this time. Readers love lists, and it’s an easy story to do: Just open up a browser and start searching for the best of everything, then rewrite what you read online. Here at PCMag, we do things a little differently. The difference is that we’ve tested and reviewed all the products we recommend. Most testing took place in PC Labs in New York City. That’s where Sascha Segan conducted his battery run-down tests on the Apple iPhone 7 Plus, Matthew Buzzi ran PCMark 8 on the new Microsoft Surface Book, and Jim Fisher used Imatest to measure high-ISO image distortion on the Nikon D 500. But our testing isn’t limited to the Labs. Increasingly, our testers…

2 min.
fast food on other planets

“HEY ELON, DON’T MAKE ME SPEND 30 YEARS IN A PIZZA HUT ON MARS” I don’t think any modern or future bank is going to offer indentured servitude as a repayment option. A bank could decide to give you a loan and you would pay it out of your wages. There will be a labour shortage on Mars so I expect wages will be similar to those seen at offshore oil rigs and mines.— Dallas Max Eddy replied: I don’t think there will literally be indentured servitude. My concern is that contractual work arrangements with low or no pay in an extreme environment could recreate it in all but name. In an earlier draft, I also talked about minimum wage fast food workers, which may be a more apt discussion. For many people,…

2 min.
mit and lamborghini to create even better supercars

Lamborghini and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are partnering to develop technology and products that should make future Lambos faster, lighter, less expensive (maybe), and more crash-resistant (possibly). Even though Lamborghini is part of the huge Volkswagen family, supercar companies need to continuously improve if they intend to survive and prosper. The two companies recently announced a three-year partnership to underwrite 50 students studying abroad in Italy and working with Lamborghini on research and development. Much of the work is expected to be in developing composites that make the car lighter and stronger. It’s not MIT’s first car project: In fall of 2015, the university entered into a partnership with Toyota to further develop self-driving cars. That’s part of a $1 billion program that includes Stanford University as well. The two coastal…

2 min.
nasa completes james webb space telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) comes up a lot when we talk about the very boundaries of our understanding of the cosmos. For more than a quarter century, the Hubble Space Telescope has been our best window to the wider universe, but it can only do so much. The JWST is the next step, and NASA has announced that it has completed construction of the telescope: It’s on track to launch in just under two years. The journey to this point was almost derailed a few times. The JWST was an expensive project at its inception, with an estimated budget of $5 billion. A series of delays and technical issues nearly resulted in the cancellation of the JWST in the 2012 US federal budget. Luckily, the project survived and is…

2 min.
ford previews truly autonomous parking-assist tech

Despite their convenience and wow factor, current-generation self-parking vehicles don’t exactly park themselves: the driver must still change gears and keep a foot on the brake pedal, and the systems are often stymied by curved street curbs. Ford hopes to change that with a new, completely autonomous self-parking feature currently in development at the automaker’s European research and development facility. In a YouTube video, Ford demonstrated how its new park-assist feature can achieve parallel and perpendicular parking at the touch of a button. In addition to steering, the car also moves the gearshift and controls the throttle and brake. In other words, it is true self-driving technology, the likes of which few drivers other than Tesla owners who spring for the controversial Autopilot feature have experienced on public roads so far. One…

5 min.
are you ready to hack consciousness?

For many years, the concept of “consciousness research” was avoided in academic circles, as freshly minted neuroscience PhDs competed for grant money that was mostly tied to products that could be monetized in the future. Then artificial intelligence studies changed tack, people started to wonder how to make machines sentient, and bio-mimicry entered the fray. Of course, everyone hit on the same thorny problem: How do we first define human consciousness? Surely we need to understand that before we build machines that think. So—in that vein—do you fancy participating in the largest experiment to date of detecting human consciousness, its origins, and effects? If you’re up for it, apply for the closed beta test of Entangled, an app designed to capture, analyze, and share human consciousness research. To help explain what that actually…