297 episodes

Hosted by Avram Piltch, Editor-in-Chief of Tom's Hardware, and moderated by Scott Ertz, The Piltch Point is a livecast covering news, reviews, and previews of devices and components. Avram showcases new technology, gadgets, and concepts, as they are announced or released. Review products include smartphones, smartwatches, wearables, laptops, and tablets.

Piltch Point (Video‪)‬ PLUGHITZ Live

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Hosted by Avram Piltch, Editor-in-Chief of Tom's Hardware, and moderated by Scott Ertz, The Piltch Point is a livecast covering news, reviews, and previews of devices and components. Avram showcases new technology, gadgets, and concepts, as they are announced or released. Review products include smartphones, smartwatches, wearables, laptops, and tablets.

    • video
    Navigating AI in Google Search: Concerns and Solutions - Episode 329

    Navigating AI in Google Search: Concerns and Solutions - Episode 329

    DescriptionThis week, Avram Piltch discusses his concerns about the use of AI to generate and present information as an arbiter of truth. He specifically talks about Google's AI overview, previously known as Google SGE, which has recently been rolled out to everyone in the United States. He expresses his strong feelings about the potential for AI-generated information to be misleading, especially when presented as authoritative facts without acknowledging differing viewpoints or ongoing legal disputes.
    AI-generated information can be misleadingHe gives an example of a search query about whether training data is considered fair use under US copyright law. The AI overview provided by Google confidently states that training AI models using publicly available internet materials is generally considered fair use. However, Avram points out that this statement is presented as a fact, without mentioning the ongoing lawsuits against OpenAI and the debate surrounding the issue.
    He highlights the danger of people trusting AI-generated information blindly, assuming that Google's answers are always correct. He emphasizes the importance of presenting information in a balanced and objective manner, acknowledging different perspectives and ongoing legal disputes.
    Customize search results with an extensionAvram has created a browser extension that allows users to skip the AI-generated answers and get right to the results. The extension, called Bye Bye, Google AI uses CSS manipulation in order to suppress the AI areas of the search results. This approach allows the extension to work without the user having to do anything special.
    One of the key benefits of customizing search results with CSS is the ability to personalize the browsing experience and filter out irrelevant or distracting content. Avram discusses how he was inspired to create his own browser extension after seeing another extension that allowed users to hide elements on Google search results pages. By developing his own extension, He was able to provide users with more options for customizing their search experience and tailor the results to their liking.
    However, Avram also acknowledges the limitations of using CSS to customize search results. He notes that Google can update its algorithms at any time, potentially breaking the functionality of his extension and causing unexpected issues, such as making certain elements disappear from the page. Despite these challenges, he remains committed to refining his extension and addressing any issues that may arise, demonstrating his dedication to providing users with a valuable tool for customizing their search experience.
    Avoid AI by using web tabAvram discusses the issue of AI-generated search results and offers a solution for those who prefer to avoid them. He introduces the concept of the "web tab," which presents search results in a more traditional format without AI-generated content such as featured snippets, videos, and discussions. He acknowledges that while AI technology can be helpful, it is not always accurate or reliable, leading some users to seek alternatives.
    He also provides a workaround for accessing the web tab directly without the need for his extension. By creating a custom search engine in the browser settings with the parameter "UDM=14," users can bypass AI-generated search results and go straight to the web tab. This allows users to access a more traditional search experience without the influence of AI-generated content.
    However, Avram notes that this solution may not be as easily accessible on mobile devices, as popular mobile browsers like Chrome and Safari do not offer the same customization options for search engines. While Firefox does provide a feature for adding custom search engines, users of other mobile browsers may have limited options for avoiding AI-generated content.
    AI-generated search results can be misleadingAI-generated search results can be misleading. Avram discusses his experiences with AI-ge

    • 32 min
    • video
    Exploring AI Hardware: The Humane AI Pin and Rabbit R1 - Episode 328

    Exploring AI Hardware: The Humane AI Pin and Rabbit R1 - Episode 328

    DescriptionThe tech topic of 2024 has been and will continue to be AI. And, as with any tech trend, software inevitably begets dedicated hardware. The first generation of AI-focused hardware appears to be a collection of solutions searching for a problem to solve.
    AI pin is overpriced and unnecessaryThe AI pin is a novel hardware product that has recently hit the market, but it is receiving negative reviews due to its high price and lack of practicality. Priced at $699 plus a $24 monthly subscription fee, the Humane AI pin is designed to be worn on the body and act as a standalone device with its own cellular connection. However, despite its futuristic design and features, it has failed to impress consumers and tech experts alike.
    One of the main criticisms of the AI pin is its high price point. At nearly $700, the device is significantly more expensive than most smartphones on the market. This steep price tag, combined with the additional monthly subscription fee, makes it a luxury item that many consumers may not be willing to invest in. Furthermore, the AI pin's limited functionality and performance issues make it difficult to justify its high cost.
    In terms of functionality, the AI pin falls short of expectations. While it is marketed as a voice-activated assistant that can answer questions, take pictures, and provide information, users have reported that it is slow, unreliable, and lacks basic features that are commonly found on smartphones. For example, the AI pin struggles to set timers, has a limited battery life, and is uncomfortable to wear due to overheating issues. Additionally, its projection-based interface is clunky and difficult to use, further diminishing its appeal.
    Ultimately, the AI pin's lackluster performance and high price make it an unnecessary and impractical device for most consumers. With smartphones already offering a wide range of features and capabilities, there is little incentive for users to invest in a separate device that offers inferior functionality. While the concept of a wearable AI assistant may be appealing in theory, the AI pin fails to deliver on its promises and falls short of expectations. In conclusion, the AI pin is overpriced and unnecessary, and consumers would be better off sticking with their smartphones for their digital assistant needs.
    Rabbit R1 phone is questionableThe Rabbit R1 phone is a questionable product that has raised concerns among consumers and tech enthusiasts. The podcast transcript highlights several key issues with the device, including its high price, limited functionality, and questionable marketing tactics.
    One of the main criticisms of the Rabbit R1 is its price point, which is described as outrageous. The podcast hosts compare it to the Palm Phone, another niche device with a high price tag. The fact that the Rabbit R1 is not even wearable adds to the confusion surrounding its purpose and value proposition.
    The lack of practicality and usefulness of the Rabbit R1 is also called into question. The hosts express confusion over the concept of leaving your phone at home only to carry a separate device that essentially functions as a phone. They suggest that a 4G watch would serve a similar purpose more effectively, as it is smaller and more convenient to use.
    Furthermore, the podcast hosts discuss the device's battery life, which is reported to be only two hours. This is a major drawback for a device that is supposed to replace or supplement a smartphone. The comparison is made to other products on the market that offer longer battery life and better functionality at a lower price point.
    The marketing tactics employed by Rabbit, such as not sending out review units and claiming to have sold 100,000 units before the product was even launched, raise further suspicions about the legitimacy of the company and its product. The hosts express skepticism about these claims and question the motives behind such tactics.
    In conclusion, the Rabbit R1 phone is a quest

    • 31 min
    • video
    From Commodore to Clones: Uncovering Computer History - Episode 327

    From Commodore to Clones: Uncovering Computer History - Episode 327

    DescriptionThe Vintage Computer Festival East is an annual event held in New Jersey that celebrates the history and nostalgia of old computers. Attending this festival is like taking a trip down memory lane, where you can see, touch, and even play with vintage computers from the past. The Vintage Computer Festival East was a showcase of a wide array of old computers, each evoking a sense of nostalgia and admiration. The unique features of each computer were highlighted, from the small keyboard of the Cosmac to the green CRT monitors that are no longer commonly used.
    Vintage Computer Festival East memoriesOne of the highlights of the festival is the museum portion, where visitors can see a collection of old CPUs, including the 8086, 286, 386, and 486. These CPUs may bring back memories for those who have used them in the past, and it's a reminder not to throw away old technology as it can still hold value and significance.
    Another interesting exhibit at the festival was the Xerox Star 8010, a computer with a GUI that predates the Macintosh GUI. This computer was primarily used for business purposes but had a user interface that resembled the iconic Mac interface we know today. It's fascinating to see the evolution of technology and how certain features and designs have influenced modern computing.
    The festival also featured the PCjr, a less successful sibling of the IBM PC, and a TI-branded luggable computer. These computers may not have been as popular or successful as their counterparts, but they still hold a special place in computer history.
    One of the most memorable experiences at the festival was playing with an original Commodore PET. The PET was Commodore's first major personal computer, released around the same time as the Apple II and the TRS-80 in 1977. Playing with this computer brought back memories of the early days of personal computing and the excitement of exploring new technology.
    Overall, the Vintage Computer Festival East is a unique and nostalgic experience for computer enthusiasts and history buffs alike. It's a reminder of how far technology has come and the impact that these vintage computers have had on the evolution of computing. Attending this festival is not just a trip down memory lane, but a celebration of the history and innovation of old computers.
    Old computers evoke nostalgiaA key theme that emerged from the event was the sentimental value that these old computers hold for the attendees. Stories were shared about first computers, such as the TI-99/4A and the Apple II, and anecdotes about the software and games that used to run on these machines. These old computers evoke a sense of nostalgia, transporting individuals back to a simpler time when computing was still in its infancy.
    Technical aspects of the vintage computers were also discussed, such as the PowerPC chip inside the BeBox and the monochrome screens of the Osborne and TRS-80 computers. There was a fascination with the sharpness of the text on these old monitors and a lament for the inability to replicate the same experience on modern LCD screens. This longing for the unique features of old computers speaks to the emotional connection that individuals have with these machines, beyond just their functionality.
    The history of certain prototype computers, such as Microsoft Neptune and the Mac OS version that never came to fruition, was also explored. These failed attempts at innovation serve as a reminder of the risks and challenges that come with pushing the boundaries of technology. Despite their lack of success, these prototype computers still hold a special place in the hearts of computer enthusiasts, as they represent a glimpse into what could have been.
    Conclusion: History and nostalgia at onceIn conclusion, the Vintage Computer Festival East exemplifies the nostalgia and reverence that old computers evoke in individuals. These vintage machines are not just relics of the past, but symbols of innovation, perseverance, and the end

    • 39 min
    • video
    Maximizing Productivity: Customizing Windows Features - Episode 326

    Maximizing Productivity: Customizing Windows Features - Episode 326

    DescriptionCustomizing the right-click menu in Windows can greatly enhance the user experience and productivity. By making a few simple tweaks, users can access a wider range of options and functions directly from the context menu, without the need to navigate through multiple menus or windows.
    Customize Windows right-click menuOne of the most common complaints about the right-click menu in Windows 11 is the limited number of options that are displayed by default. Users often have to click on "Show More Options" to access additional functions, which can be time-consuming and frustrating, especially when working on complex tasks.
    Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this problem. By editing the Windows registry, users can customize the right-click menu to display all available options without the need for extra clicks. This can be done by creating a new registry key and setting the default value to blank, which will remove the "Show More Options" prompt and display all options directly in the context menu.
    To customize the right-click menu, users can follow these steps:Launch the registry editor by searching for "regedit" and opening it.Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareClassesCLSID and create a new key with the name "{86CA1AA0-34AA-AE8B-A509-50C905BAE2A2}" if it does not already exist.Create a new key under that key called "InprocServer32".Set the default value of "InprocServer32" to blank and close the registry editor.Sign out and sign back in to see the changes reflected in the right-click menu.By customizing the right-click menu in Windows, users can access a wide range of options and functions directly from the context menu, making it easier to perform tasks and navigate through the operating system. This simple tweak can greatly improve the user experience and efficiency when using Windows 11 or Windows 10.
    Customize right-click menu shortcutsAvram also discusses various methods for customizing right-click menu shortcuts in Windows, offering tips and tricks to make accessing frequently used programs and functions easier and more convenient. Adding a custom item to the menu is a useful capability, allowing users to quickly launch an app with just a few clicks. This is achieved through the use of the registry editor, where users can create new keys and commands to add custom shortcuts to the menu.
    In order to add your own custom menu item, users can follow these steps:Launch the registry editor by searching for "regedit" and opening it.Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTDirectoryBackgroundshell and create a new key with the name you want to show in the menu - in this case "Avram".Under your new key, create another key called "Command" where capitalization matters.Under "Command" open the "Default" entry and set the value data to the full path to the application you want to run.Sign out and sign back in to see the changes reflected in the right-click menu.Custom search engines for efficiencyCustom search engines are another powerful tool that can greatly enhance efficiency when browsing the internet. By creating custom search engines in browsers like Chrome, users can streamline their search process and quickly access information from their favorite websites.
    Avram mentioned two ways to create custom search engines in Chrome. The first method involves installing an extension he created called Search My Site, which allows users to set up specific search parameters for a particular website. By simply typing a designated key followed by a space in the address bar, users can instantly search the specified website without having to navigate to the site first.
    The second method involves manually creating a custom search engine in Chrome settings. By assigning a name and a key to the search engine, users can input the search string for the website they want to search. This method allows for more customization, as users can specify additional parameters such as excluding certain domains or filtering search results based on spe

    • 27 min
    • video
    Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 12 - Episode 325

    Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 12 - Episode 325

    DescriptionThe ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 12 is an impressive ultra-portable laptop that is Lenovo's flagship model. Designed for business use, it is also suitable for anyone who needs a lightweight and durable device for work or school. The X1 Carbon is known for its durability, having undergone mil-spec testing and other durability tests to ensure its reliability.
    The technical detailsIn terms of hardware, the X1 Carbon 12th gen boasts a full array of ports, including two USB Type-A ports, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and a full-size HDMI out. The inclusion of these ports ensures that users have plenty of options for connecting peripherals and accessories, making it a versatile option for a wide range of users.
    The X1 Carbon 12th gen also features a Meteor Lake processor, which offers superior graphics performance and local AI processing capabilities. This combination of hardware allows for smooth and efficient multitasking, as well as the ability to handle demanding tasks such as image generation and speech-to-text processing.
    In terms of battery life, the X1 Carbon 12th gen offers a respectable nine-and-a-half hours of continuous use on a single charge. While this may not be the longest battery life on the market, it is still sufficient for most users' needs and can easily get through a full day of work or school without needing to be recharged.
    Retaining the best of the pastThe X1 Carbon retains the classic ThinkPad features, such as the track point, a small red nub that allows for precise cursor control without lifting your hands off the keyboard. Additionally, the laptop features a large glass trackpad for those who prefer a more traditional input method.
    For the design, the X1 Carbon is made of carbon fiber and other materials, giving it a sleek and modern look. The addition of a communication bar, which houses the webcam and IR sensor for facial login, adds a new element to the laptop's design and functionality. The 1080p webcam provides high-quality video conferencing capabilities, improving the overall user experience.
    New and improved featuresOne of the new features introduced in the X1 Carbon is the special quick menu for the track point. By double-tapping on the track point, users can access a quick menu for easy navigation and multitasking. This feature enhances productivity and efficiency, making it easier to switch between tasks and applications.
    One of the standout features of the 12th Generation ThinkPad X1 Carbon is its compact and lightweight design. Despite being a 14-inch screen laptop, Lenovo has managed to pack it into a smaller chassis, making it more portable and easier to carry around. The laptop weighs just 2.42 pounds, making it easy to transport and use on the go.
    Conclusion: An impressive upgrade for a very specific marketOverall, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is an impressive laptop that combines durability, portability, and performance in a sleek and lightweight package. With its compact design, high-quality webcam, and innovative features, the X1 Carbon is a top choice for professionals and students alike who need a reliable and efficient laptop for work or school.
    ParticipantsScott ErtzHostScott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.
    Avram PiltchHostAvram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's

    • 25 min
    • video
    Maximizing Efficiency with Keyboard Macros and Remapping - Episode 324

    Maximizing Efficiency with Keyboard Macros and Remapping - Episode 324

    DescriptionAvram Piltch discusses the importance of efficiency in programming and introduces the concept of using numpad shortcuts to save time and reduce strain on the body. He mentions that he has been working on finding new ways to program efficiently and shares his personal experience of feeling depressed on his birthday. To combat this, he decided to program something that would be useful for others at work. While working on this project, he discovered the power of macros and numpad shortcuts.
    Remap keys for increased productivityRemapping keys for increased productivity is a technique that can greatly benefit programmers and individuals who use keyboards extensively. Remapping keys on a number pad to perform tasks other than numerical input, such as controlling media playback and adjusting volume, can make unused keys on your keyboard more useful for you.
    Efficiency is crucial in programming, and remapping keys can significantly enhance productivity. The use of numpad shortcuts can save time and reduce the strain on the body. Instead of reaching up to the top row of the keyboard for numbers or frequently used functions, programmers can utilize the numpad, which is conveniently located on the right side of most keyboards.
    By remapping the keys on the number pad, programmers can assign shortcuts to commonly performed actions. For example, the transcript mentions remapping the 4, 5, and 6 keys to control media playback (back, forward, and play/pause) and the plus and minus keys to adjust volume. This allows programmers to perform these actions without having to navigate through menus or use additional peripherals.
    Furthermore, remapping keys can extend beyond the number pad. Avram suggests using a program called SharpKeys to remap any key on the keyboard. This flexibility allows programmers to customize their keyboard layout based on their specific needs and preferences. For example, you can remap the insert key, which is often unused, to become the print screen key. This eliminates the need to toggle the insert function and provides easy access to the print screen function.
    Macros take remapping to a new levelIn addition to simply remapping keys, you can use AutoHotKey as a powerful tool for creating macros. Macros are sequences of commands or actions that can be executed with a single keystroke or combination of keys. This automation can greatly speed up repetitive tasks and reduce the potential for errors. By running scripts created with AutoHotKey, programmers can automate actions in their favorite programs and streamline their workflow.
    Overall, remapping keys for increased productivity is a valuable technique for programmers and individuals who use keyboards extensively. By assigning shortcuts to frequently performed tasks and automating repetitive actions with macros, programmers can optimize their workflow, save time, and reduce strain on the body. Embracing these techniques not only enhances productivity but also promotes a healthier and more comfortable programming experience.
    ConclusionThere are simple and free ways to make your simple keyboard into a robust and productive device just for you. Using tools like SharpKeys and AutoHotKey can make your day more productive. For full instructions, check out Avram's step-by-step guide.
    ParticipantsScott ErtzHostScott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, cu

    • 35 min

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