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PC Magazine

PC Magazine June 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.
humanity’s engines of innovation

My apartment in Jersey City is about half a mile from the Hudson River, so I never worried about flooding. Then Hurricane Sandy hit. Because of the storm surge and high tide, six feet of water rose on the street outside, completely covering the cars parked on the street. By the time the storm ended, 53 people had lost their lives, 250,000 vehicles were destroyed, and the total damage cost the New York City area more than $18 billion. This raised a whole host of questions: One of the most urgent is, how can we prevent disasters like this from impacting our cities going forward? Cities are humanity’s engines of innovation. More than half of the world’s population lives in cities, and in developed countries, almost 75 percent live in urban…

2 min.
ransom war

I enjoyed your ransomware article in May’s issue. My question is, how do you recover once infected? Do you just reformat the locked drives, and reload from backups? Must you do more, like format the software or C: drive and then reload the operating system and all software and data? Must one go further and reset the motherboard bios and then reload everything from scratch? Is there a another strategy to follow when infected?—Ronald Tellier Many thanks for providing the very interesting and informative article. I wanted to ask whether you have a suggestion of how to best react when a computer (in a small home or office network) is infected despite, of course, using security software. My first step would be to disconnect it from the network and inform all…

3 min.
this new ai platform can (almost) think for itself

Dag Kittlaus wants you to imagine buying a consumer electronics device in the near future. You take it out of the box, plug it into the wall, and unlock it with a biometric thumbprint—then the device comes to life. “Hi, nice to meet you,” it says, before walking you through its setup via natural conversation. That scenario isn’t too far away, according to Kittlaus, who used TechCrunch Disrupt in Brooklyn in May as part of a coming-out party for Viv, a new voice-activated digital assistant. After three rounds of venture capital funding and more than a year in development, Viv is ready for primetime. Viv is an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that gives developers and hardware makers the ability to imbue any product or interface with a conversational user interface (UI). It’s…

2 min.
skintrack can turn your arm into a touch screen

Smartwatch screens can feel maddeningly small when you’re trying to navigate through apps. But why limit yourself to a 2-inch screen when there’s so much prime real estate surrounding it? A Carnegie Mellon University research lab hasintroduceda solution thatturns your arm and hand into an extended touch screen for your wearable device. Dubbed SkinTrack, itenables continuous touch tracking on the skin—in a most fashionable way. Users wear a “harmless” (says CMU) high-frequency AC-signal-emitting ring, which communicates with electrodes in the watch’s wristband to power interactive applications such as swiping, touching, and tracking. It even works when the skin is covered with clothing. SkinTrack, from the minds of the university’s Future Interfaces Group, can handle app navigation, selection, scrolling, and confirmation. Say you’re out for a run: You don’t have to stop—panting and…

4 min.
how smartwatches are changing four seasons

The AAA Five Diamond award-winning Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea might be on a laid-back island, but it’s incorporating the latest tech to enhance hotel operations. When the resort opened in 1990, the staff used landline telephony and two-way radios to handle logistics. Now driveway personnel are engaged in subtle smartwatch action on the forecourt, as well-heeled and celebrity guests approach in their cars. It’s part of a test which may be expanded to the rest of the resort over the next year. PC Magazine met with Marketing and Public Relations Manager Crissa Hiranaga, Guest Services Manager Alex Howell, and IT Director Jorge Gabriel in Hawaii to see the smartwatch system in action. We all stood just inside the forecourt, facing the lush, tropical-plant-shaded driveway that encircles a fountain. Several members of…

5 min.
the supercomputers that are exploring quantum cryptography

The Strategic Computing Complex is located in a classified area of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), so during a recent visit, PC Magazine met up with two of its supercomputing and quantum cryptography experts “outside the fence” at the LANL Research Library. The complex, known as the Nicholas C. Metropolis Center for Modeling and Simulation, houses one of the largest supercomputing centers on the planet, where calculation, modeling, simulation, and visualization of complex nuclear weapons data in support of the Stockpile Stewardship Program is carried out. Among those allowed inside the fence are Randal Rheinheimer, deputy division leader for High Performance Computing at LANL, and Josip Loncaric, HPC Technology Futures Lead at LANL. “I’m the big-picture guy, and Josip Loncaric is the detail-orientated one,” Rheinheimer explains. Essentially, Loncaric’s role is to predict what’s…