This 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.
This week, Google gives away Cardboard, China takes away some gaming, and Netflix retires older device support.
This week, Avram Piltch shows off the Artie 3000 drawing robot. Artie is a new entry in the growing list of kids STEM toys intended to help teach kids about computers, logic, and programming. These toys all take different forms, and Artie is unique in the field. This product is a robotic drawing product, which allows the user to program its movements to produce a drawing.
While Artie is cute, some aspects make it less than ideal. Most robotic toys connect to their host devices via Bluetooth, Artie connects via WiFi. Artie has a web server built-in which serves up the web interface to program the robot. This produces a couple of issues. The first is that because Artie connects through WiFi, the computer or tablet does not have internet access. This means that looking for help will be impossible on the connected computer. So, to be able to use a tutorial or follow instructions, you will need two devices.
The second problem is that the interface is designed for a larger screen, particularly a laptop. It works well on a laptop, but most younger kids have more experience with a tablet or phone than with a laptop. As such, using the block-based programming system is not as easy to use as it is with other products.
While Artie is billed as a toy to learn how to program, this robot is not going to be a great introductory programming toy. That's because the system is very limited in its scope. However, Artie is a truly great product to help kids learn the basics of geometry due to its drawing focus. Over time, kids can learn the finer points of how to program the robot to produce geometric shapes. The more intricate the shapes, the more detailed the drawings can be. One of the included programs produces a very cool Spirograph-like design.
Because of the price and the legitimate learning opportunities, Artie is a good buy for most young kids.
This week, wireless carriers are working together, Fallout players are working in private, and Google is working to improve results.
Since we published our Unboxed video for the Monster IlluminEssence line of products, we have been asked almost daily how to pair a remote to a light. There are a lot of reasons why someone might want to do that. First, you might be trying to customize your home with remotes for the living room, bedroom, etc. That was exactly why our team was so familiar with the process - we customized our offices with the review products.
However, we hear fairly often that the remotes and lights are not always paired out of the box. However, once they are paired, they work as expected. Because of this, we decided to show people the process of pairing. The good news is that it is incredibly easy. Simply remove power from the bulb or LED strip, return power, and within 5 seconds press and hold the Speed Up button. You will know it worked when the bulb or strip blinks 3 times. If you want to undo the pairing, simply press and hold the Speed Down button within 5 seconds of powering the bulb. You'll know it worked because the light will flash rapidly 5 times.
If you want to learn more about the product line, you can check out our reviews.
This week, Avram Piltch talks about how and why to overclock your computing device. So, what is overclocking? It is the process of changing the operating parameters of a component to increase its performance. While the main CPU is the most common to overclock, you can also overclock your graphics card, or GPU, and your RAM.
While not long ago the process of overclocking was difficult enough that only computer aficionados got involved, today it can be as easy as changing a setting in a text file or your system BIOS. It does require that your hardware be overclockable, better known as unlocked. For an Intel processor, just make sure that the model number ends in a K. Modern AMD processors are all unlocked, as are Raspberry Pi processors.
Why might you want to overclock your components, though? For some, it can just be a fun challenge. Some people take it to extremes. There are competitions and professional overclockers who can use liquid nitrogen to pull out every drop of performance. But, for normal computer users, overclocking could potentially add some life to older hardware. Maybe your PC is getting a little slow, you've done a full reset, but it's just not quite enough. By overclocking your processor, you might be able to bring that device back to life.
Many people wonder why overclocking is needed. Why not just run the component at its full potential out of the box? Because every device is unique, manufacturers cannot predict the maximum potential of each component. So, rather than trying to tune each processor or stick of RAM individually, the manufacturers find the least common denominator and tune for that. That does, however, leave some headroom that you can take advantage of. Overclocking can also affect the overall lifespan of your components.
This week, Google has given up its Daydream, Blizzard is giving up their loyalty, and tech companies may no longer give up your data.
This week, Avram Piltch discusses a pair of interesting science experiments that have been conducted by Tom's Hardware over the past few weeks. The first involves the publication's favorite tech gadgets: the Raspberry Pi. The site has done a lot of projects using the board, but this one was unique. Rather than building something with it, they waterproofed it and used it completely submerged underwater. The result is accomplished by dipping the board into a bath of a chemical called CorrosionX. This chemical is incredibly toxic and should be used with care.
From a usefulness perspective, this project probably doesn't rank high for most consumers. However, there are some real-world applications. Raspberry Pi boards are used in a lot of robotic applications, and robots can get themselves into potentially damaging situations, completely outside of their control. Even if the case is already waterproof, adding this process on top of the case can protect the board in the event the case is damaged. Think of a product like a Roomba where the electronics could be protected from moisture even if the body is damaged.
The second experiment, which will be published this week, involved AMD, Intel, and pancakes. It's common knowledge that a computer CPU gets hot, and the chips have been used to cook before, but Tom's Hardware decided to test which manufacturer cooks better. They used comparable processors, one from Intel and one from AMD, and removed their processor fans. Adding thermal compound to a skillet, they placed it over the processor and ran a test to kick the processor to 100%. While both have similar operating temperatures, the Intel processor continued to run through the heat while the AMD Threadripper turned off for protection.
Again, the usefulness of the test is probably pretty low, but it is an interesting experiment. From a results perspective, it's important to know that an Intel processor will continue to run without proper heat dissipation. If you're building a computer and need it to keep running in extreme heat, potentially to the detriment of the hardware, Intel would be a good choice. If you're looking for a system with a strong self-preservation instinct, AMD might be the better choice.
This week, Apple's phones can be broken, Microsoft's streaming can be tested, and Google's news results can't be previewed.
So many of us live for sports. We love to watch and cheer on our favorite teams, and we also love to play. Getting out and active is important for so many reasons. It helps to keep us fit, of course, but it also keeps us engaged in social settings with like-minded peers. The benefits of getting out there and staying active are important to our physical, mental and emotional well being. So whether your favorite sport to play is basketball, tennis, soccer, baseball or any/all of another myriad of athletic choices out there, you're going to love this next app.
Maybe you are new to the city and don't have your usual crew to meet up with for a quick game. Or maybe your work schedule has changed and that is keeping you from being as active as you would like. Justin Ford, Founder and CEO of Javelin Sports has just the solution that will bring you closer to your goals and will connect you with players of any sport you wish. Javelin Sports is a mobile application designed to help users find sports leagues as wells as pick up games in their area to fit their busy schedules.
Justin discusses how he felt it was becoming more and more challenging to stay active playing the sports that he had come to fall in love with. He decided to work with his co-founder, Coleman Chan to develop an easier way to keep up with your active life with an easy outlet to join leagues and meet sports enthusiasts in your local community. Javelin Sports includes cool features such as being able to chat with your teammates, receive game notifications, schedule your games on your own time, as well as sharing your experiences with your friends that may want to play.
Javelin Sports is currently live in Toronto, Canada on the Apple App Store or the Google Play store. To find out more about this application, you can visit their website.
There are so many credit cards available that it is nearly impossible to choose which one is right for you. Which ones will give you a good rate? Which have the best cashback options? Which ones have cashback that matches your spending habits? To help you wade through all of this information and make an informed decision, we've got CardCruncher.
This platform helps you find the right credit card for you, based on real-life information. All you have to do is attach your bank account, and CardCruncher will look at your spending, how much you spend, where you spend it, and how often. Using that information, they compare your habits with the details of every credit card in their database to find what will give you the best return on your spending.
The service is provided to users entirely for free. They accomplish this because they get paid per new card signup that they refer. This is a pretty common business model for a free product. Sometimes referral businesses will lean towards the products that make them the most amount of money, but with CardCruncher, there is no doubt that this is not the case. The value of their platform is based on the value they provide through their algorithm, and to stray from that mission would damage their value. This is good news for everyone involved.
The idea, like many ideas at Collision, came about from a personal need. Mike Bonfigli, the company's co-founder, found himself sitting in front of a computer with a spreadsheet and a lot of research, looking for his best deal. He realized that he couldn't possibly be the only one who wanted this information and set about to bring the idea to reality. Now, you can find out which card is best for you in just moments.
To get your free credit card recommendation, head over to the website.
One of the most fun aspects of Collision Conference is getting to interact with the other press and influencers in the Media Village. We get to meet people from the big publications who are always interested in our indiscrete studio setup, and we meet influencers who are looking for contacts and pointers. This year, we got the opportunity to speak with Nicole Holland, a "traffic generation rockstar." She sat near out studio and started talking with the staff. During a break, I had the opportunity to talk with her and she did exactly what her title suggests - brought traffic to others. She lined up our interview with GenM and worked to bring us others.
But, the reality is, Nicole is an interesting person with a very positive personality. She is always looking for ways to connect people, which is a trait that our team admires because it is something that we try to do as well. It's no wonder that people can connect with her easily and listen to what she has to say. That is the at the core of being a successful influencer in the modern age. If you can genuinely connect with people, they will trust your recommendations.
One of her big topics is podcasts, which is a perfect fit for us. She facilitates inspiring success stories, gives tips and tricks, and more on her show. She also helps others get started in telling their own brand stories through podcasting. Right now, podcasting can be a great way to reach your audience, either through your series or by guesting on someone else's. Nicole Holland can help you use this medium to grow your influence.
To learn more about Nicole, hear her podcast, or engage her services, head on over to her website.