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APC March 2021

For people who love technology, APC is unique: it's the world's longest-published monthly tech magazine. Launched in May 1980, we were there when Apple's Macintosh and IBM's PC were born, and have been at the forefront of tech ever since. With a combination of insights, testing and tutorials APC lets you stay up-to-date with tech as it changes the world.

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Future Publishing Ltd
13 Issues

in this issue

2 min

We are still in the throes of supply shortages right now. And you can see that across both our budget builds. We’ve managed to claw back some costs, but sadly GPU prices on the low-end are still at unmanageable levels, and stock is precarious. To that end we’ve swapped to the MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT Gaming X for our AMD system, and the GeForce GTX 1650 Super OC on Intel. Both are roughly the same price, and perform similarly – the 1650 Super edges out the 5500 XT for performance and is slightly cheaper too, although both are floating above their RRPs annoyingly. We’ve also had to swap out our Intel processor from the Core i5-10500 to the Core i3-10100. This saves us a ton of cash, bringing that processor…

1 min
windows activation

Windows activation is a kind of super fun thing that, if it goes wrong, shows you really unhelpful messages and gets you to phone Microsoft support. However, if you didn’t have a licence key to type in during installation, and this is a reinstallation onto a system that’s been activated and tied to a Microsoft account before, there is one thing you can do. On the “Settings >= Update & Security >= Activation” page, click “Troubleshoot.” You must be logged into your Microsoft account for this to work, and it needs to be the same one that was previously activated. The troubleshooter thinks for a while, then gives you a list of the Windows activations registered to your account. Click the one you want to use, and the “I’ve recently…

1 min

This messaging app has been a staple for many who are concerned with privacy but it recently exploded in popularity. This came in part thanks to a confusing update to WhatsApp which implied more sharing of user data. But Signal is pretty good in a lot of ways – I’ve been using it for years now so it deserves a mention. It’s easily one of the best and most transparent services out there when it comes to security. This is because it’s all done by the Signal Technology Foundation – a non-profit that’s all about open-source privacy. Signal’s encryption isn’t opt in, like a lot of other services so you have it by default. The app is a bit no frills when it comes to stickers and other gimmicks. There’s…

1 min
raspberry pi to the rescue

Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton started the project after seeing an alarming drop in coding proficiency with university applicants. With an extremely cheap machine, it was the foundation’s intention to get children coding again, the way 8-bit microcomputers started bedroom coding in the 80s. The default Raspberry Pi OS comes loaded with programming languages, environments, and interpreters, though there has always been a focus on Python – perhaps the best modern equivalent of BASIC. GPIO pins are displayed, making the machines perfect for hardware hacking.…

1 min
how to install openhab

01 DOWNLOAD Visit https://bit.ly/MPCjanHAB and download the image. It’s about 500MB, but compressed. You’ll need to decompress it with xz -d openhab-core18-pi.img.xz if you’re going to write it out manually with dd in the next step, but the official Raspberry Pi Imager program can do this for you. 02 WRITE THE IMAGE TO SD CARD At least a 4GB card will be required, and possibly more if you go all out with extensions. On a Debian-based distro (including Ubuntu) you can download the Pi Imager from https://downloads. raspberrypi.org/imager and install it with dpkg -i or graphically with Gdebi. Use this to write out the image file. 03 OOT YOUR PI Connect a monitor, keyboard, and network cable (optional) to your Pi, insert the freshly minted card, and fire it up. You will see some configuration…

1 min
intel kills off all optane-only ssds for consumers

In a surprising move with little fanfare, Intel announced that it is discontinuing all of its Optane-only SSDs for the consumer market. Surprisingly, the company says those drives aren’t going to see Optane-only replacements, marking the end of its enthusiast-geared Optane SSDs for desktop PCs. Intel discontinued the Optane Memory M10, 800P, 900P, and 905P SSDs, representing the entirety of its Optaneonly family for desktop PCs. Intel’s 900P and 905P discontinuation notice states: “Intel will not provide a new large capacity Optane Memory SSD as a transition product for the client market segment. Intel will focus on the new Optane Memory H20 with Solid State Storage for the client market segment.” Intel’s discontinuation period is incredibly brief, too, with all discontinued drives no longer offered as of the publication date of the notices.…