Tech & Gaming
PC Magazine

PC Magazine March 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

3 min.
our quantified selves

I’ve been reading Victoria Song’s wearables reviews since she took over the beat last year. But it wasn’t until she wrote this month’s cover story that I appreciated the toll that tracking trackers could take on a human being. In her story, she shares the enthusiasms and disappointments of living a perpetually monitored life, where every trip to the watercool becomes a subject of quantification and analysis. That kind of mindfulness leaves a mark, and not just on your wrists. Wearables changed her life in some surprising ways, and there are some vital lessons in there for the rest of us. First, the wearables revolution is moving a lot slower than we thought it would. Countless startups have folded, and even big players like Fitbit and Apple are struggling to make…

3 min.
female voice assistants and tech addiction

THE REAL REASON VOICE ASSISTANTS ARE FEMALE (AND WHY IT MATTERS) Avoiding terms like she, her, foremothers, and the like can help remind readers that these are machines with audio interfaces. It’s hard not to anthropomorphize them, though. And it is easy to assume the voices are female given the characteristics. (I wonder if the lead singers for bands such as Portugal the Man and Silversun Pickups have grown weary of being presumed to be female based on their voices.) It may not be be an effective way, but avoiding such pronouns when referring to AI systems may help to avoid the transfer of bad behavior to humans that you are cautioning about. Such systems are always “it,” never she nor he. —reamon I don’t know. I think maybe [you’re] reading too much into…

5 min.
fast forward: lawrence lessig on campaign corruption and the dangers of ai

Fast Forward is a series of conversations with tech leaders hosted by Dan Costa, PCMag’s Editor-in-Chief. Lawrence Lessig is a professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard University, where we recorded the show. In 1999, he wrote Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace. Lessig is the cofounder of Creative Commons and made a run for president in 2016, which he sadly did not win. He’s also the creator of the Lessig Method of Presentation. Dan Costa: We’re going to talk about the law, we’re going to talk about the internet, we’re going to talk about that messy place where the two collide. I want to start way back in 1999, when you wrote this book, and one of the things that you wrote in it is that “the code is the…

2 min.
youtube’s covert cryptocurrency-mining ads

Stealth cryptocurrency mining in one’s browser without permission is one of our least-favorite trends of the past six months. The idea of end users generating income for the sites they visit by mining cryptocurrencies—as opposed to being hit with ads—has some interesting features to recommend it. But it also raises some concerns and issues about how such funding should be monitored and controlled so that systems remain responsive—and to ensure that different sites and browsers won’t slug it out for resources, with users left in the lurch. Instead of an informed approach in which end users consent to such mining, we’ve seen stealth operations popping up everywhere: They steal CPU cycles from users, particularly if more than one crypto-mining program is running simultaneously (read this month’s IT Watch story, “Protecting Your Business…

4 min.
it watch: protecting your business from cryptocurrency malware attacks

Cryptocurrency may be the most notable success of blockchain technology, but not everything about it is gold. Miners have found a new way to make money for themselves while also reducing their costs. It’s easy: They just have you pay for it. What’s happening is that hackers install code on a site that you’re likely to visit for a long time. While you’re there, an infected ad injects cryptocurrency-mining software into your computer, where it’ll mine for currency while you’re trying to do something else. This practice appeared on YouTube in mid-January and was first reported by researchers at Trend Micro, who said that the DoubleClick ad network was being abused to deliver currency mining malware. The apparent reason was that people tend to stay on YouTube for an extended period, giving…

1 min.
what we love most this month

INTEL VAUNT SMART GLASSES Smart eyeglasses have some handy use cases, but existing models are far from aesthetically pleasing. Intel is looking to bring some style to the world of smart specs. Although the Vaunt glasses look and feel ordinary (allowing wearers to skirt that Glasshole problem), they can project information such as directions and message notifications from your iOS or Android smartphone into your field of vision. The brains of the glasses live in the stems on the sides. Intel plans to launch an “early access program” for developers later this year. [Photo courtesy of The Verge] www.theverge.com PETCUBE BITES Watching your pets at home via webcam? That’s nothing new—unless the camera can also reward them with treats. Petcube Bites is a 1080p streaming-video camera with a treat dispenser that you can control…