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PC Magazine

PC Magazine September 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.
let go of the wheel

Living in New York City, I have a decidedly ambivalent relationship with the automobile. I moved here with a 10-year-old Toyota Camry 25 years ago and quickly discovered my car was not the advantage it had been in high school and college. Finding a parking spot in Hoboken could take 30 minutes. And forget about commuting into the city. I was so happy the day I sold that car; I felt free. When I needed to head out of town, I rented a car. When Zipcar opened up shop, I was first in line. Reservations were a little hard to come by, but with some forethought, you could almost always get a car for an hour or a few days Suddenly, I had an automobile on demand, and I never had…

3 min.
take control of your tech

“NO, BUILDING A COMPUTER IS NOT TOO HARD” Wonderful article… [It] was a fun read and brought back some nostalgic memories of PC gaming as a kid. —shadow1w2 Forget about Config.sys and Autoexec.bat. What about setting IRQs with DIP switches via trial and error because the only documentation you had was a tiny bit of useless print? File that under ‘things I do not miss.’ —ThomasD Back in the day, I stayed up all night trying to install a 28.8-baud modem on my Packard Bell Pentium 60. It turns out that it would have never worked, but my 16-year-old brain didn’t know it at the time… Now, It’s easier than ever. In fact… I don’t need to keep up on the newest stuff and how-tos. Everything works well and is easy to install. Just find…

5 min.
why we’re not building space tech in space—yet

These days, engineering for space has a lot to do with packaging. Your biggest, most ambitious ideas have to be deliverable in small chunks that can be reassembled later, or blown up like a balloon, or folded up like an origami crane. Everything you want to do in space—say, super-telescopes and Mars colony ships—has to fit into the tip of a rocket, either once or over and over. You have to design space technology for zero gravity but build it in single gravity. It’s annoying! But what if you could get around the problem by building tech in the same environment in which it’s designed to operate? The idea of doing construction in space has existed for a long time, but like many ideas about What NASA Ought To Do, it’s…

6 min.
what is 5g?

We’ve had 4G cellular networks for only a few years, but all the wireless carriers are already talking about 5G. It’s actually surprisingly easy to do so, because there isn’t any official definition of 5G yet. What’s happening now is that all the players in the wireless world, from chipset makers to carriers, are jockeying to be able to define 5G and establish themselves as 5G leaders. So head with me down the rabbit hole that is 5G as I try to explain what the heck is going on here. 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G The G in 5G means it’s a generation of wireless technology. While most generations have technically been defined by their data transmission speeds, each has also been marked by a break in encoding methods, or “air interfaces,”…

6 min.
how dna data storage works

DNA data storage is a big deal. Partly, it’s because we’re based on DNA, and any research into manipulation of that molecule will pay dividends for medicine and biology in general. But it’s also because the world’s most wealthy and powerful corporations are getting discouraged by cost estimates for data storage in the future. Facebook, Apple, Google, the U.S. government, and more are all making astounding investments in storage (“exabyte” is the buzzword now). But even these mega-projects can only put off the inevitable for so long; we are simply producing too much data for magnetic storage to keep up, without a major unforeseen shift in the technology. That’s why Microsoft recently decided to invest in the prospect of storing information with a totally different sort of tech: biotech. It might…

9 min.
cadillac’s slick, high-tech 2016 ct6

Loathe to be seen as a carmaker whose luxury brands’ popularity peaked in the 1950s, General Motors has tried everything from making smaller cars with European-style looks and handling to airing “Is that a Buick?” TV commercials aimed at millennials. The company’s latest effort, in full splendor on the new Cadillac CT6, involves packing as much technology as it can into its luxury cars. Cadillac already offers high-tech features such as 4G LTE hotspots in its entire consumer model range. With the CT6, though—a new offering for the 2016 model year—the company is blurring the lines between concept and production car, both inside and out. Outside, you’ll find a car that more closely resembles a Mercedes-Benz S-Class or BMW 7 series than the 1990s-era Caddys tooling around the average nursing-home parking lot.…