208 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

    • Technology

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
    Intel's New NUC Direction - Episode 214

    Intel's New NUC Direction - Episode 214

    DescriptionThis week, Avram Piltch talks about the Intel NUC and the future direction of the product line. In the past, the company has released a limited array of models and configuration options to correspond with its processor upgrades. While the line has never been incredibly popular, it has been consistently stable.
    This year, the company announced a change of direction, but one that is also familiar. The next generation of NUC will no longer be just an Intel-branded product. Instead, it will become a product standard, powered by the Intel NUC Compute Element - a self-contained computing card. These cards will plug into a daughterboard for power and provide the essentials of the computer. The manufacturers, including Razer and Adata, will provide both fully built and bare-bones models that customers can customize.
    These systems can be upgraded, unlike previous models. They support discrete graphics cards for the first time. There are also upgradable RAM and SSD. The biggest upgradable component, though, is the Compute Element itself. When you need more power, you can simply replace the Compute Element and the system is upgraded.
    If this idea sounds familiar, it's because it is. The concept is very similar to Intel's Compute Card, right down to the name. The Compute Card was designed to power embedded devices, such as smart TVs. The idea was that, rather than replacing the television, you could simply replace the Card. This would, theoretically, avoid the situation where Hulu and Netflix recently stopped supporting older smart TVs.
    Like the Computer Card, the NUC Compute Element sounds like it is a solution looking for a problem. The price is higher than a regular PC while being only slightly smaller and being powered by laptop hardware. The video cards may be desktop quality, but the processors are not. Intel is going to have trouble finding an audience for this product.
    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 DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar 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 judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.

    Avram PiltchHostAvram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.

    Live DiscussionPowered by PureVPN

    • 18 min
    • video
    Most Influential Tech of the 2010s - Episode 213

    Most Influential Tech of the 2010s - Episode 213

    DescriptionThis week, Avram Piltch discusses some of the most influential technology of the past decade. While some products produce a short-term change to an industry, others have long-lasting effects. In the past decade, there have been several massive moves that will likely never be reverted.
    One of the most influential products of the decade was the AMD Ryzen 1800X processor. The product stood head and shoulders above what Intel was producing and, in grand AMD fashion, was far less expensive than what Intel was offering. The processor offered 8 cores and 16 threads, as opposed to the common 4 core processor being offered by Intel. It also ushered in the architecture that made it possible for AMD to produce the first 7nm chips, something that Intel still has not accomplished.
    Another influential product in the 2010s, especially for Avram, has been the Raspberry Pi. This single-board computer has changed the way we think about computing. It also changed the way we think about what a computer can be, and what it is capable of doing. For so long, a computer was thought to be a larger, more powerful system that could do anything. With the Raspberry Pi, we can now think about a computer as a single-purpose device, whether that be to power a robot or a security camera. It also helped evolve the craft community into the maker movement.
    For Scott, however, one of the most influential technologies of the decade has been virtualization. Without it, there would be no Azure, AWS, or Google Cloud. There would be no Project xCloud or Google Stadia. More importantly, there would be no blossoming startup community. The ability to create virtual networks in Azure and the like and scale them up and down at will, without having to purchase hardware, lease physical space to store them, provide power and internet, etc. And, none of it is a capital expense. Awesome.
    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 DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar 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 judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.

    Avram PiltchHostAvram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.

    Live DiscussionPowered by PureVPN

    • 17 min
    • video
    Alternate Typing Technology - Episode 212

    Alternate Typing Technology - Episode 212

    DescriptionThis week, Avram Piltch talks about technology that he has been interested in for decades: alternate typing tech. Imagine you are at a trade show, waiting in line for a presentation, and you want to get some work done. Sure, you can use your phone and try and type something of consequence, but that's going to be infuriating (we've tried it). You could bring a tablet, but you still might have issues with a content system that requires a desktop. You could bring a laptop, but they're big and unwieldy, especially when you're in tight quarters. Avram has always believed there has to be another way, and there is.
    The first option is DecaTxt, a small Bluetooth keyboard with only 10 buttons. By pressing the buttons in various combinations you can type a full keyboard worth of characters. The creator has been tweaking the device for years, always looking for ways to improve on his design. One of the key drawbacks to the concept is the learning curve. It can take some people a long time to wrap your head around the key combinations, making typing slow. For some, however, the typing will be as easy as the old T9 on flip phones.
    If learning about a new key structure isn't in your wheelhouse, maybe a virtual keyboard will work. The Tap Strap is an input device that wraps around your fingers and senses movement, translating the movements into inputs. This can be used as standard key entry, but can also be used to replace a mouse, controller, presentation clicker, and more.
    In addition to typing, these devices could be a brilliant addition to a virtual or augmented reality setup. And, as VR and AR hardware get closer to daily use technology, the more important innovations like the DecaTxt and Tap Strap will become.
    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 DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar 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 judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.

    Avram PiltchHostAvram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.

    Live DiscussionPowered by PureVPN

    • 18 min
    • video
    Build or Buy Your Next PC? - Episode 211

    Build or Buy Your Next PC? - Episode 211

    DescriptionThis week, Avram Piltch discusses the ups and downs between buying a pre-made PC from a vendor or building your own from components. It's the age-old question in computing - do you save the time and buy a PC, or save the money and build it yourself? As it turns out, the price differential between a pre-made and a custom-made PC is not as great today as it once was. In fact, in Avram's research, there is only about $100 between the two options.
    However, there is more to consider than just the price. On the side of buying a PC, there is definitely the time savings. Under a lot of circumstances, you have the ability to customize some of the components of your PC, without having to physically touch the machine. That can save a lot of time and effort in the process, not to mention frustration. But, you do not usually get the ability to choose every option, such as the brand and model of RAM or storage. Those components can make a huge difference to performance, but they are usually out of your hands.
    On the other hand, building your own PC comes with the ability to handpick everything, from the make and model of components to the specific batch number, if you feel so inclined. This level of customization comes with the ability to fine-tune your machine to the exact specification you want, but it also means a lot of time investment, both in researching the components and the actual build process.
    So, since cost is not the factor that it used to be, the real differentiator is your purpose. If you are looking for a PC for standard usage, buying a standard PC is probably the right way to go. However, if you are a creative, a gamer, or in another field that requires tuned hardware, building might be the way to do.
    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 DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar 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 judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.

    Avram PiltchHostAvram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.

    Live DiscussionPowered by PureVPN

    • 18 min
    • video
    Sphero RVR Coding Robot - Episode 210

    Sphero RVR Coding Robot - Episode 210

    DescriptionThis week, Avram Piltch shows off the newest STEAM toy from Sphero, the RVR (pronounced Rover). This new vehicle separates itself from the already crowded programmable vehicle kits in a variety of ways. First, and most obvious, is that the vehicle is designed for all terrains. That means that it isn't limited to being used inside, but can be used outside, and even in the grass.
    This isn't the only aspect of the RVR that makes it versatile. As is, the RVR can be controlled through the Sphero app. You can also use the app to program it, using the block-based programming system. This can be a great learning system for kids and adults to get familiar with the included aspects of the RVR. However, this vehicle is almost infinitely expandable because you can add external control boards to the top.
    Whether you want to explore the capabilities of the Raspberry Pi, Arduino, or Micro:bit controllers, you can use any of them with the RVR. By adding one of these boards, you can introduce a whole host of sensors, controllers, and external resources. This expansion can allow the RVR to go from a STEAM toy to a sophisticated robot. platform. You can use it as a roving security camera, an environmental scanner, and so much more.
    In addition to the additional sensors, you also get expanded connectivity options. Let the RVR stream live video to YouTube, or report sensor readings to Microsoft Azure. You can also combine external resources, like weather data, with local readings, to make decisions. All of these features can be used either as a learning experience for new hardware developers or as a pre-built robotics platform for more complex projects.
    The Sphero RVR is available now. As of the time of this video, it is on sale on Amazon for $199 (regularly $249).
    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 DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar 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 judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.

    Avram PiltchHostAvram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.

    Live DiscussionPowered by PureVPN

    • 15 min
    • video
    Don't Get Overcharged on a New Computer - Episode 209

    Don't Get Overcharged on a New Computer - Episode 209

    DescriptionThis week, Avram Piltch discusses the important things to look out for when purchasing a new computer. There are two ways to buy a new PC: pre-configured or self-configured. For the most part, pre-configured models are far less expensive than their custom configuration counterparts. For example, if you head to a manufacturer's website and look at their laptops, several of them offer the ability to customize the parts. If you go with the base model, you might have only 128GB of storage. However, you can upgrade that to 1TB for almost $600. However, if you were to purchase that same SSD yourself, it might only cost $100, meaning that you would be paying a $500 markup to have the drive pre-installed, and you don't get to keep the original 128GB drive.
    A simple way to avoid the upcharge is by purchasing a pre-configured computer. Of course, this does mean that you might have to sacrifice something off of your ideal setup. Maybe you can't get the 1TB drive, but you can get a 512GB drive instead. Maybe you can't get 32GB of RAM, but you can get 16GB. For some, the compromise is okay, but for others, it would not be possible.
    Another way to avoid the immense upcharge is by performing the upgrade yourself. In some cases, this is as easy as removing 2 screws. In other cases, it would require prying the body apart and repairing it with glue. For those models, it's generally not worth trying. But, there are tools to determine the upgradability of your model. You can use the Kingston Memory Configurator or the Corsair Memory Finder, both of which will tell you what can and can't be done with your computer.
    No matter which way you decide to go, it is always important to know all of your options ahead of time.
    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 DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar 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 judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.

    Avram PiltchHostAvram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.

    Live DiscussionPowered by PureVPN

    • 25 min

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