PC Magazine August 2021

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
R 63,66
R 318,92
12 Issues

in this issue

1 min
which cpu will reign supreme?

We’ve been covering personal computing here at PCMag for many years (since 1982, to be exact). And in that time, we’ve witnessed and reported on a lot of technology competition—but very little has rivaled the battle of the chips, between Intel and AMD. It’s been a virtual seesaw of CPU superiority between the two makers, with behemoth Intel monopolizing at first, but underdog AMD coming from behind to make it a real fight. If competition drives innovation—and I think there’s little doubt that it does—these two companies should probably thank each other for at least some of the technical gains each has made in the past couple of decades. And the battle is far from over (if it ever actually does end). Our cover-story writer, PCMag Hardware Analyst Tom Brant, has taken…

3 min
the (un) reality of cryptocurrency

Can Cryptocurrency Replace the US Dollar? Let me be the first to admit that I do not understand cryptocurrencies, but I am a 77-year-old retired accountant. I did have a minor in economics, which I think is a little like spending a night in a Holiday Inn. I don’t necessarily even want an in-depth understanding of cryptocurrencies, but I am interested in where they are going. Like many people, I have received lots of invitations to “invest” in cryptocurrencies, which to me means “speculate,” since I don’t understand them and suspect that those who are selling them don’t, either.… Lots of people are getting into them without any real understanding of what they are doing or what crazy direction this phenomenon might take.—boxouthard Despite its name, [cryptocurrency] is at this time not…

9 min
hands on with macos monterey: improvements abound

The public beta of macOS Monterey, released by Apple in early July, doesn’t look surprisingly new. Exceptions include Safari, which gets a dynamically resizing tab bar and other conveniences, and FaceTime, which gets a background-blurring portrait mode and screen-sharing features. As you get more familiar with Monterey, however, you’ll find improvements and conveniences everywhere and may wonder how you managed without them. This is because Apple’s annual updates to the Mac operating system tend to have a regular rhythm. Massive updates arrive on even-numbered years: Big Sur, for example, the 2020 update to macOS that was also the first version that ran on Apple Silicon hardware. Updates in odd-numbered years, such as Monterey, look more or less like the previous version but come with under-the-hood improvements that may do more for…

1 min
ingenuity mars helicopter smashes records on its ninth flight

In early July, the Ingenuity Mars helicopter completed its ninth and most challenging flight across the planet’s surface. In so doing, it set new NASA records for distance, time aloft, and groundspeed. The rotorcraft, according to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), traveled for 166.4 seconds (nearly 3 minutes) at a speed of 5 meters per second (11mph). This “max effort,” NASA explained, challenged more than the machine’s physical strength. It also tested an onboard navigation algorithm, which helps Ingenuity determine where it is along the flight path, as well as the helicopter’s telecom system, designed for line-of-sight communications over distances of a few hundred meters. “Ingenuity made the harrowing trip without a hitch, collecting closeup images of the nearby Séítah terrain.” “All of this amounts to a significantly elevated risk, and it is…

5 min
your voice can help shape the future of speech recognition

Does your smart speaker—or conversational AI interface—find it hard to understand you? You’re not alone, especially if your voice is not the standard issue your device’s dataset was trained on (i.e., American-English-Perceived-Male). Speech recognition and natural language processing are crucial for the future of the voice-activated internet services, but most of the datasets are owned by a handful of mega-tech companies (the usual suspects) and need much broader inputs to be able to understand the rest of the people who share the planet. That’s where Mozilla and its project, Mozilla Common Voice, come in. “Mozilla Common Voice is an ambitious, open-source initiative aimed at democratizing and diversifying voice technology,” said Mark Surman, executive director at Mozilla. “Common Voice enables people to donate their voices to a free and publicly available database that…

9 min
is daas the killer app for hybrid work?

It seems that hybrid work, the “new normal,” might be pushing desktop as a service (DaaS) into the rank of front-and-center business tool, up from the minor curiosity it was only two years ago. That notion is due to some sudden and formidable market movement, most recently from Microsoft. Microsoft has had a virtual desktop service for a while—Azure Virtual Desktop, formerly called Windows Virtual Desktop. A rumor recently mongered by Mary Jo Foley, the queen of Microsoft leaks, has it that Microsoft will be announcing yet another DaaS development next week during Microsoft’s Inspire virtual conference. The new service will probably be called Cloud PC, and instead of supplanting Azure VD, it’ll be its own product aimed at general businesses and available as part of a Microsoft 365 subscription. Azure…