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20 years of PC Pro: our best covers

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

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There are only so many ways you can photograph a laptop — or so you’d think. PC Pro has been blessed with a talented team of designers and photographers in our 20-year-history, who have come up with glorious ways to make bland desktops and black-rectangle tablets into interesting covers, and to translate more esoteric ideas such as broadband and the web into images.

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20 years of PC Pro: our first A-List

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

PC Pro started in 1994, but the A-List — our pick of the best products of the moment — didn’t arrive until three years later, in issue 28.

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If you have a copy of one of our more recent issues to hand, take a flip through the A-List: it’s six pages of 51 product categories, with our main recommendation plus an alternative choice — more than 100 pieces of kit or software we think is worth your money.

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Wikipedia’s “right to be forgotten” protest hits the wrong note

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Screenshot 2014-08-08 10.06.07As an information resource, I rate Wikipedia very highly indeed. I have serious concerns about its leadership’s decision to try to undermine the “right to be forgotten” by drawing special attention to articles that have been delisted from Google.

Yes, there are problems with the current implementation of the right to be forgotten, but I believe the principle is a good one. Our libel laws already enshrine the right of the individual to protect his or her reputation against misrepresentation. If search engine results promote a misleading impression of someone, based on old and irrelevant information, it seems fair to me that the same principle ought to apply.

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3D printing hits the high street for plastic selfies

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

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We’ve been talking about 3D printers for years now, and it’s never made sense to me to buy one of the things: they’re expensive, require serious CAD skills to make anything useful and they smell bad — burning plastic isn’t easy on the nose.

Print shops, on the other hand, always seemed like the perfect home for 3D printers: such businesses could buy better hardware and therefore print higher-quality products than consumers could afford, and offer a chance to make bespoke objects without investing hundreds of pounds first.

Step right up Ryman. The stationery and printing shop has started to offer 3D printing services in two of its London stores, bringing 3D printing to the high street — well, to The Strand and Great Portland Street, at least. We swung round to the latter to see how it works — and get another 3D printed self-portrait to add to our terrifying collection.

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20 years of PC Pro: What amazed us in our first issue

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

PC Pro cover issue 1

Believe it or not, PC Pro first hit the newsstand in 1994 — and back then it would have landed with a thump. (It was massive.)

As we prepare for our 20th anniversary (issue 241, on sale mid-September), I’ve been flipping through that first issue and marvelling at the sadly spec’d PCs, hilariously cheesy advertising, and interesting design choices. We had a bit of a thing for Word Art, it would seem. (more…)

Office of the future: comfy chairs and tablets everywhere

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

SamsungTrader

What will the office of the future look like? Samsung has tried to answer that with a recent event showcasing the future of work – and it would appear that next-gen offices will be heavy on Samsung tablets and panel displays.

The first bit of tech on display was pre-event: before I entered the main showcase, a Samsung staffer excitedly asked for the NFC-enabled name tag I’d just been handed. She swiped it on a small device, waited a minute, and swiped again. Then she fiddled with the printer next to her, and swiped the card again, and 30 seconds later a coat-check tag printed out.

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Meet the robots helping teach children

Friday, June 20th, 2014

There are some invitations you don’t turn down, and for me, a room full of robots is on that list. Earlier this week, at a Humanising the Robot Society seminar, I got a sneak-peak at prototypes of robots that could shape our society in the near future. Here’s my pick of three of the most intriguing creations being used to help children learn and get around – although the last one isn’t very “human” looking, despite the name of the group putting on the seminar.

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Posted in: Newsdesk, Random

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PaperLater: would you pay to print the internet?

Monday, June 16th, 2014

PaperLater cover

The internet is amazing: it’s home to nasty trolls, silly cat photos, and the MailOnline, but it’s so stuffed full of wonderful things that it’s impossible to read it all.

There are — of course — apps to help. By letting me quickly save stories to read later, Pocket has changed my life (and I’m not prone to exaggeration). Install the bookmark in your browser and connect the app to Twitter, and with a quick click you can save the stories behind interesting links to your phone to read offline later, such as when commuting or bored waiting for someone.

Now, PaperLater has taken this a step further. Your saved stories are printed on actual newsprint, which is delivered to your door like your own personal newspaper. It’s printing the internet.

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Posted in: Just in, Newsdesk

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Amazon vs Kobo: how much to make the ebook switch?

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

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Amazon has been locked in an epic battle with publishers for control of ebook prices for years now, and the fight has lately taken a nasty turn. Among other things, the retail giant has recently banned pre-orders of Hachette titles, including JK Rowling’s next mystery novel, and today it appears that it’s done the same to Warner Bros movies, refusing to take pre-orders of The Lego Movie.

This is obviously irritating for publishers — and authors, as Stephen Colbert’s amusingly rage-filled reaction highlights — and it has implications for readers too. I expound my thoughts on this in next month’s PC Pro (I’m sure you can’t wait), but the fact that I’m considering switching to a different ebook seller probably gives away the punchline.

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Posted in: Newsdesk, Rant

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Your right to a private life extends to your email

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Man at screen

This may cost me some friends and a place on Germaine Greer’s Christmas Card list, but I have some sympathy for Richard Scudamore, the Premier League chief executive who’s been castigated for sending sexist emails.

A friend of mine is a largish cheese at a well-known broadcasting company. Recently, we were arranging a curry night with some pals over email, exchanging the normal “banter” that passes between a group of friends who’ve known each other for years, when said broadcasting exec suddenly felt the need to inform us that – like Scudamore – his PA had access to his inbox.

There was nothing particularly off-colour in the email exchanges, certainly nothing comparable to the comments that have had Scudamore dusting down his CV this week, but the tone of the conversation changed immediately. Dialogue that would be utterly harmless between friends who’ve known each other since university, who know each other’s sense of humour and when someone is being ironic, was suddenly unacceptable when his PA was potentially reading the exchanges, too.

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