Tech & Gaming
PC Magazine

PC Magazine February 2018

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
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12 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
the new new journalism

Although it came into being a couple of decades before I entered the job market, “New Journalism” was one of the reasons I became a writer and editor. I grew up reading Hunter S. Thompson’s stories in Rolling Stone. Yes, there were lots of drugs, but also politics, music, and more, colored by the unmistakable voice of the the author. What was “new” then is now just another way of reporting a story. The media industry is in crisis, no doubt, but there has probably never been a better time to find long-form, personality-driven journalism. Hard as it is to make a living as a journalist, the pages of The Atlantic, Harper’s, The New Yorker, and Esquire are still filled with good reads. Except that now, most people read those stories…

2 min.
uefi or not uefi?

Change for the sake of change seems to be a major philosophy in the IT arena. “Change” is used to justify paying all those highly-paid IT people’s salaries. Making things easier for common users is not high on their priority list. Just looking at the latest UIs being foisted onto users. —TsarNikky Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) has been around quite a long time. Like BIOS, it’s stored in flash memory, and gets updated and patched by the OEM maker. Or at least every Dell and Lenovo I’ve owned has. In term of malware rewriting the UEFI/BIOS, they are pretty much equally vulnerable. The bigger security risk with Intel processors is the Management Engine (ME), which has been found to be full of security holes allowing malware to run below the OS.…

10 min.
the best of ces 2018

Even after 51 years, CES still manages to pack some surprises. We’re not talking about the rain that caused crazy floods or the two-hour blackout in Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. We’re talking about 65-inch rollable OLED displays, robotic dogs, and $4,000 treadmills that deliver live workout classes on HD screens. There were plenty of less surprising, though no less welcome, innovations on display as well. We weren’t surprised to see voice assistance play a bigger role than ever this year, for instance. But we didn’t necessarily expect to see it embedded in the bathroom, where it can start your shower or turn on your toilet’s foot warmer. We’ve gathered our favorite 21 new products and technologies from the show. Although they aren’t all guaranteed to the make it…

5 min.
ellen ullman on code and conscience

Fast Forward is a series of conversations with tech leaders hosted by Dan Costa, PCMag’s Editor-in-Chief. Ellen Ullman is the author of Life in Code, a series of essays that begin in 1994 when she was a programmer in Silicon Valley. She now makes her living writing mostly fiction, but Ullman remains a keen observer of the region, the tech industry, and how the tools we make are changing us on a daily basis. Dan Costa: Your programming roots go back quite a ways. In 1978, you were an English major who decided to make the switch into programming. Why would you do something like that? Ellen Ullman: Well, I got involved with a group doing video; the Sony Portapak was one of those machines like the PC. These things that have…

1 min.
what we love most this month

TRAVIS TRANSLATOR Planning a trip around the world? You’ll probably want to talk to people. The portable Travis device can translate 80 languages in under 2 seconds, thanks to its Quad Core processor. Built-in artificial intelligence helps the Travis learn as you use it. It comes with a 1GB SIM card for 3,000 minutes of translating. Starts at $179.00; www.indiegogo.com MISFIT PATH Wearable maker Misfit’s new hybrid smartwatch looks similar to the excellent Misfit Phase—but it’s impressively small. Like the Phase, it can track steps, calories burned, distance and sleep, as well as receive your typical call, text, and app notifications. Swimmers will be happy to note it’s safe for the pool and shower. The Path also features a smart button that can be programmed as a remote control to play music, snap photos,…

6 min.
can cryptokitties teach the world about blockchain?

Benny Giang DMed me on Twitter in early October about CryptoKitties. “We put the first breedable kitties onto the blockchain,” Giang wrote, adding “This may sound like an ICO scam or a joke but it’s neither.” At first, it sounded like both. Developed by design studio AxiomZen, CryptoKitties is a game that lets you collect, raise, and breed unique digital cats on the Ethereum blockchain. TechCrunch’s Fitz Tepper described the game’s concept as “using Ether, an asset with arguably little tangible utility—to purchase an asset with unarguably zero tangible utility.” In case you haven’t heard, blockchain is the distributed ledger technology underlying cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Blockchain makes it possible to run web applications that don’t depend on centralized authorities such as Facebook and Google. And in the past couple years, the…