Tech & Gaming
PC Magazine

PC Magazine June 2017

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

3 min.
video gaming for fun and profit

A long time ago, I stopped calling myself a gamer. In fact, there was only a tiny sliver of time when I could do so at all with a straight face. When I was a kid, my mom kept me from console gaming entirely. Sure, I could play Atari, Nintendo, and ColecoVision at friends’ houses. I don’t want to go too far down memory lane, but I did play Mattel’s Classic Football before it was “classic.” But when I got home it was just me and the television. We didn’t even get cable until I was 12 years old. Back then, another way I could play video games was at the arcade in the Hampshire Mall. I managed to get my initials on a few final-scores lists, but the real test…

2 min.
elon musk’s brain-interface idea

Musk is more a brave innovator than a genius. Almost everything he has accomplished to date had already been foreseen, imagined or depicted in science fiction. But it took him to turn all those things into reality. The world is full of people that dream about the future. He wanted his dream to become true. —Garu Derota Someone has been playing the new Mass Effect. —Matthew Cornwell As someone who suffers with a crippling short-term memory, I’d love an implant. —David Compart The scary thing about these brain interfaces is they can be used to create short term memory lapses, when someone wants you to forget. —Mr. Blastman A much more practical and near-term idea would be for diabetes medical-device companies to expand what they do with external blood sensors (see DXCM, TNDM, PODD) into an internal microchip…

2 min.
uber unveils personal airplane design, plans tests in 2020

Uber is planning an on-demand fleet of electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft that will roam cities by 2020, the company has announced. The planes are based on an existing design for the U.S. Department of Defense’s X-plane program. Made by Aurora Flight Sciences, the first plane successfully completed a flight test on April 20, and Uber hopes to have 50 of them by 2020 to test its Elevate network of on-demand planes. “The Elevate VTOL network will help improve urban mobility around the world and transform the way we travel,” Mark Moore, Uber’s Director of Engineering, said in a statement. The planes, which Uber intends to launch first in Dallas and Dubai, will be summoned using the Uber app and will cost the company approximately $1.32 per passenger mile to operate,…

2 min.
e-reader sales slack as paper books reclaim market share

Have an e-reader collecting dust on a shelf somewhere? You’re not alone. Recent data from the Publisher’s Association indicate a major market trend back toward treeware, as ebook and e-reader sales continue to slump. It’s not clear whether the enduring popularity of tablets might be responsible for some of this change; if tablets have usurped some e-reader market share, that could explain things. According to Euromonitor International, a consumer research group, sales of e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook have declined by more than 40 percent since 2011. “E-readers, which was once a promising category, saw its sales peak in 2011. Its success was short-lived, as it spiraled downwards within a year with the entry of tablets,” Euromonitor said in a research note. But it’s not all about…

2 min.
stanford researchers develop flexible, biodegradable semiconductor

Engineers have become quite good at designing ever more powerful and advanced electronics, but we’re not so good at properly disposing of them when they’re out of date. The United Nations Environment Program estimates that almost 50 million tons of electronics waste will end up in landfills this year, a 20 percent increase over last year. With that troubling statistic in mind, Stanford engineer Zhenan Bao and her team set out to design a new type of semiconductor that could simply biodegrade when it’s no longer needed. The key to this new semiconductor is a polymer that degrades into harmless organic molecules. It’s a flexible sheet that can bend and stretch to fit almost any given structure, although this requires the use of other specialized components—the concept wouldn’t be very useful if…

1 min.
what we love most this month

AMILIFE FIDGET SPINNER This low-cost spinner is the best-selling fidget toy on Amazon. With a ceramic bearing, this three-pronged version can keep spinning for over a minute. If you’re not sure whether spinners are right for you, this is a solid entry point. $3.09, www.amazon.com ZEKPRO CERAMIC BALL BEARING FIDGET SPINNER Looking to step it up a bit? This slightly more expensive spinner is well liked with a four-star average based on nearly 3,000 reviews. And if you’re planning on buying two or more, you can even save an extra 20 percent off. $19.99, www.amazon.com RALIX FIDGET CUBE Of course, not all fidget devices focus on spinning. This cube from Ralix offers different buttons, switches, and rotating gizmos. If you’re currently using pens or bottle caps to keep your hands busy, the Ralix is a nice step…