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PC Magazine

PC Magazine March 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.

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United States
Ziff Davis
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12 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
pitfalls of the iot

As a guy who makes his living writing about new technologies, I tend to be a techno-optimist. We are living in fantastic times; computers are cheap, a huge portion of the population carries a smartphone, and the world’s knowledge is at our fingertips. And the Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming a reality. Yet there is a darker side to explore. In this month’s cover story, Max Eddy shows just how dark things can get—but I want to add two recent examples to set the stage. The PetNet SmartFeeder is a perfect example of the IoT. The SmartFeeder replaces the traditional food bowl with an Internet-connected container that lets you feed your pet remotely. Problem solved, right? A couple of critiques can be made, though. First, the SmartFeeder sells for $150.…

3 min.
are smartphones obsolete?

The next revolution after smartphones is wearable augmented reality with gesture-reading and verbal input. That’s going to require an unobtrusive version of Google Glass or Hololens. Part of the problem with Google Glass is it was too early; people were spooked by others recording and researching them on the fly without their knowing. Now people are [blasé] about taking phone pictures, and nobody even blinks at someone using their phone for checking things on the internet. As for the next revolution after that, it will probably be implantable augmented reality and computer control. Probably 5 to 10 years for bugs to be worked out, costs to come down, security to be at acceptable risk levels, and people to get used to and adopt.—Houmid Remember the eye rolls that Bluetooth earpieces used…

1 min.
report: 300b passwords at risk by 2020

Not all passwords are created equal, according to a new report from research firm Cybersecurity Ventures, which estimates that by 2020, hackers will have their choice of 300 billion passwords to target. That total includes an estimated 100 billion user account passwords for things such as social media and email, as well 200 billion passwords or credentials used to log into Internet of Things (IoT) devices. So-called “privileged accounts,” used to maintain IT infrastructure, will be among the most frequently targeted, because they are stored in multiple places and provide access to entire networks of devices. “One privileged account password breach can allow a hacker to access and steal the credentials and passwords belonging to every employee in a company,” Joseph Carson, Chief Security Officer of Thycotic and one of the report’s…

1 min.
koei tecmo creates 5-sense virtual reality machine

Virtual reality is seen as paving the way for the next generation of interactive entertainment. But right now, it’s quite limited. You have cables to worry about, you need extra gadgets to immerse other parts of your body beyond your vision, and you need a large, empty environment in which to enjoy your VR without injury. Japanese video-game publisher and developer Koei Tecmo doesn’t want to wait for virtual-reality technology to mature, so it came up with an alternative. Rather than requiring users to wear a VR headset, it created a virtual reality machine a person sits inside, called VR Sense, that promises to stimulate all five of your senses. The VR Sense looks similar to a typical arcade racing game, with a seat in front of a display. But it offers…

2 min.
new research suggests anyone can become a troll

Are people born Internet trolls, or does the Internet turn them into horrible people? New research from Stanford University and Cornell University suggests that it’s the latter. The research, published as part of the upcoming 2017 Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, offers evidence that anyone has the potential to become a troll. “We wanted to understand why trolling is so prevalent today,” Stanford computer science researcher and lead author of the paper Justin Cheng said in a statement. “While the common knowledge is that trolls are particularly sociopathic individuals that occasionally appear in conversations, is it really just these people who are trolling others?” Cheng and his team set up an experiment with 667 subjects recruited via a crowdsourcing platform to investigate whether trolling is an innate character flaw or…

2 min.
what we love this month

UNALIWEAR KANEGA WATCH With built-in cellular and Wi-Fi access, the Kanega P.E.R.S (Personal Emergency Response Systems) smartwatch for seniors won’t require tethering to a smartphone. Its monthly fee will cover cellular service, medical alerts and operator call-back for falls, panic, and dementia-related confusion, and GPS for getting people home safely via step-by-step instructions. The Kanega is voice-activated for hands-free use, does medication reminders, and solicits self-reporting. Users can say, “Did I take my meds at noon?” and the watch will scroll back to check. It responds to affectionate monikers, too. Midyear, www.unaliwear.com SENSTONE The Senstone, being crowdfunded on Kickstarter at this writing, is a small, wearable voice recorder that lets you record quick voice notes (or any nearby audio) by pressing a button. The LEDs glow in a starburst pattern and flash as it…