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PC Magazine

PC Magazine February 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

4 min.
robots are coming for your job—and mine

I have a variety of terrible habits, but one of the worst is my tendency to bring up politics in polite company: family dinners, business lunches, Facebook conversations, even the pages of this fine magazine. I’m not trying to convert people to my way of thinking—not always, anyway. As the U.S. presidential election kicks into gear, it seems clear that voters are worried about their jobs. Donald Trump points to unemployed factory workers and blames China. Senator Bernie Sanders points to an unlivable minimum wage and blames Wall Street. I think we have a bigger problem. The freaking robots are coming for our jobs! Of course, I’m using the term “robot” pretty broadly. Although we do cover robots, this month’s cover story addresses technological automation and unemployment of all kinds. The…

2 min.
your emails

Better With a Band I have a lot of family videos taken with a DV camcorder in 4:3 format that I would like to transfer to DVDs, but in 16:9 format without the black bands on the sides. Recently I have seen TV footage where the side bands are filled with either suitable colors or a fussy image. It seems like a good solution to the problem. Will other effects work? Are there effects standard in video editing software? Can you suggest a package that can do this well? —Antonis Papanestis OUR ANSWER: You can import your 4:3 footage into video editing software such as CyberLink’s PowerDirector or Corel’s VideoStudio to get the effect you’re looking for. Set the project for widescreen and you’ll see the black bars at the sides. You can…

4 min.
intel pursues growthbeyond pc markets

For decades, Intel has been known first and foremost as a provider of CPUs. From the “Intel Inside” jingle to the company’s preferred position as an enthusiast and gaming platform, Intel built its business on selling consumer processors for both desktops and laptops. The company has no plans to stop selling CPUs, but made it clear during its Q4 2015 conference call on January 14 that it’s not looking to the PC market to drive growth, either. “Taken as a whole, 2015 demonstrated the benefits of our strategy, which is designed to capitalize on the growing need for the infrastructure powering the smart and connected world,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said on the call. “That strategy is also resulting and the evolution of our business model to focus on three keys…

6 min.
meet josh: jeeves for the 21st century

Ready to have a rapport with your residence? Meet Josh, a new AI-powered home management system, with a personality of its own (actually several, but more on that later). Picture the scene: You’ve just arrived off a long-haul flight from Hong Kong after another successful business trip. While in the high-speed electric overground transit from the airport, you call home. It answers. “Hello.” “Hi. I’m heading home to the apartment in Manhattan.” “ETA in 25 minutes? “Sounds about right. Thanks for checking the traffic.” “Sure thing, boss. So, at 05:13 hours, transitioning temperature in the library to 72 degrees, master bedroom to 71, lights to ‘attractively dimmed,’ audio streaming to Coltrane, assessing filtration levels for a hot shower in ensuite bathroom and powering on ice cube maker.” “Thank you.” “You’re most welcome. Please let me know if there’s any…

2 min.
in going global, netflix curbs proxy use

Using a proxy to watch movies and TV on Netflix that aren’t available in your geographic region? You’d better binge on that content while you can, because it probably won’t be available for much longer. Netflix in mid January announced a new effort to crack down on proxies or “unblockers,” like VPN services, which help users fool the company’s systems into thinking they’re in a different country and thus access additional content not available where they live or are traveling. “In coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are,” Netflix’s Vice President of Content Delivery Architecture, David Fullagar, wrote in a blog post. “We are confident this change won’t impact members not using proxies.” The change comes after Netflix…

5 min.
path of exile’s path to indie success

Back in the 1990s, PC gamers couldn’t throw a rock in a Software Etc. store without hitting a shelf of Diablo clones. By the mid 2000s, the Diablo-style action RPG (ARPG) had gone out of fashion for most players, and Diablo III wouldn’t arrive until 2012. During those in-between years, a group of ARPG fans took matters into their own hands and made the game they wanted to play. This group eventually became the indie studio Grinding Gear Games. The company’s game, Path of Exile, has just celebrated its third anniversary online—where it is completely free, no strings attached—and is slated to release its fourth expansion pack, Ascendancy, early this year. We spoke with Managing Director Chris Wilson about what’s made Grinding Gear Games successful, and why Path of Exile is…