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What to Expect on Prime Day 2020 - Episode 239

Piltch Point

What to Expect on Prime Day 2020 - Episode 239

2020-09-27

Prime Day, which is Amazon's annual celebration of itself, is a great opportunity to find some big deals at retailers across the internet. While the event itself is Amazon-branded and only applies to Prime subscribers, other retailers take advantage of the attention to sales and run their own promotions. While the event usually takes place in the Summer, Amazon delayed it this year because of the increase in demand for its service due to the lockdown.

Now we have the date, October 13-14, 2020, and we can begin to prepare for the sales. The most important part of Prime Day is not getting tricked by the false urgency. Just because something is on sale does not mean it is a good deal. For Amazon, using The Camelizer is the best way to compare the current price against the last few months. This will prevent you from spending more than you should just because it's a special couple of days. You also want to go in knowing what you want and not panic buy things because of the price.

Some of the best deals will be on Amazon's in-house brands. You'll see big price decreases on Amazon Basics, Amazon Fire, Ring, Echo, and more. If you're in the market for one of these product categories, waiting for 2 weeks will be your best bet. In fact, that will be the case for most tech products.

In addition to Amazon products, we will see sales on TVs, monitors, SD cards, SSDs, and more. Often times, Amazon is flooded with lower quality, no-name brands, and many of those will all be on sale during the event. But, when purchasing electronics, especially important parts like storage and screens, it's best to stick to known brands. You can use Tom's Hardware to check out reviews on products you find, and even use their product guides to see the best sales during the event.

September 27, 2020 - Episode 574

F5 Live: Refreshing Technology

September 27, 2020 - Episode 574

2020-09-27

This week, Amazon's flying in your home, Microsoft's expanding its catalog, and Spotify's adding video to its audio.

NVIDIA Broadcast Software Demo - Episode 238

Piltch Point

NVIDIA Broadcast Software Demo - Episode 238

2020-09-20

It's no secret that we are becoming a society of content creators. From services like Twitch and Facebook Gaming to YouTube and Facebook, there are a ton of ways that people can create content that others can enjoy. And, in the last few years, live video has become the creation method of choice. But, when doing live video, there are a lot of challenges that can occur. Add to that our current environment of constant video meetings, you've got a lot of people looking for some help, and NVIDIA has it with NVIDIA Broadcast.

We've all seen videos of people walking in on meetings or heard children shouting in the background. But there's also the smaller things, like the sound of water running in a turtle tank or simply the sound of someone typing on a loud keyboard while they should be muted. These are exactly the problems that the NVIDIA Broadcast software is designed to tackle.

With this software on a computer equipped with an RTX video card, users can fix issues with their own audio to prevent the outside world from having to deal with their scenarios. But, even better, these same users can filter audio coming in, so when that person is eating soup on a video call, with no care in the world, you aren't forced to endure the slurping sound on your end. You may not be able to fix it for everyone, but at least you're protected.

The real magic, however, is in the video capabilities. NVIDIA Broadcast is able to take your video feed, make adjustments, and then feed it back as a new video source on your computer. So, in the case of a meeting, it shows up as another webcam after you blur your background, replace it with an image, or mute it out entirely. This is also useful for Twitch streamers, as you can import this removed background feed into Livestream Studio, Tricaster, OBS, and more, and overlay your camera feed over gameplay.

NVIDIA Broadcast is available now for free to RTX owners.

September 20, 2020 - Episode 573

F5 Live: Refreshing Technology

September 20, 2020 - Episode 573

2020-09-20

This week, Android's firing the nannies, Google's enhancing their fiber, and comics are coming to DC Universe.

Full PC Build for Under $800 - Episode 237

Piltch Point

Full PC Build for Under $800 - Episode 237

2020-09-13

One of the side effects of the pandemic and more than one shutdown in China has been an increase in prices for PC components. Some have gone through the roof (like power supplies), while others are nearly impossible to acquire (such as webcams). But, pricing and availability issues do not make it so that people don't need to upgrade an existing PC or build a new one. Because of that, Avram built the best $800 PC for Tom's Hardware.

This PC has some surprising power, with a 6 core, 12 thread processor in the AMD Ryzen 5 3600, which cost $185 at the time of build. It has a Gigabyte GTX 1660 Super Gaming OC, which ran $239 at the time. And, it has 16GB of Patriot Viper Steel DDR4 3200, coming in at $58. These components are what made it possible for games to run at a decent framerate (averaging 56 FPS) and even allowed for Twitch streaming from the PC of a game on the PC, with only about a 10% reduction in framerate.

However, some corners were required to be cut in order to make this happen. For example, the Thermaltake TR2 600 is not the best power supply on the market, but it is reliable with a low cost at $54. Also, the Antec Dapper Dark Phantom DP310 is not a terribly exciting case, though it does come equipped with a small amount of RGB LED capability across the top, and only runs $59. The build also does not include a Windows license, as most builders will reuse the license from the PC they are replacing.

The price of components is always changing, especially right now. However, using a service like PC Part Picker will help to ensure you get the best available price on the components in your list in the moment - hopefully keeping it to the same $794 range.

September 13, 2020 - Episode 572

F5 Live: Refreshing Technology

September 13, 2020 - Episode 572

2020-09-13

This week, time is ticking for TikTok, Apple is trying to support game streaming, and Amazon is literally under fire.

The Toxic Streaming Environment - Episode 236

Piltch Point

The Toxic Streaming Environment - Episode 236

2020-08-23

If you spend any time on streaming sites like Twitch or YouTube, or on game chats on PlayStation or Xbox Live, you know that the communities can be incredibly toxic. Between children screaming racial slurs and adults making sexist remarks, it can be dangerous to the mental health of content creators and gamers. This week, in an op-ed written by Natasha "Zombaekillz" Zinda, she discussed the problems that she faces as a black woman in the gaming community.

Even if everything were happy and cheery, being a streamer is a taxing experience. Not only do you have to be in show mode for the camera, working hard to make the stream entertaining for your viewers, but you also have to play a game. For most streamers, being at least decent at playing the game is a must for the success of the channel. Combining that with the entertainment aspect of the stream makes it a challenge. Then, most great streamers interact directly with their audience, adding another layer of complexity.

But, for many streamers, there is an added and highly unwanted aspect: abuse. This can come in many forms, but the most common are negative comments about race and gender. For Zombaekillz, she can come under fire from both. And the stress of dealing with that can be too much.

The problem is that the streaming services and gaming platforms continue to promise to clean up the problem. Yet, there appears to be little to no action to do so. While Microsoft and Sony have done some work in responding to the issue, going so far as to permanently ban gaming hardware, Twitch and YouTube have a different experience. Twitch promises to protect its content creators, yet complaints to the service have yielded no results for most streamers. But, together, there are ways we can fight this issue.

August 23, 2020 - Episode 571

F5 Live: Refreshing Technology

August 23, 2020 - Episode 571

2020-08-23

This week, Android is closing up the camera, Epic is closing in on Apple, and DC is showing off for its fans.

Intel and Nvidia's Future Video Cards - Episode 235

Piltch Point

Intel and Nvidia's Future Video Cards - Episode 235

2020-08-16

It's long been accepted that Intel integrated graphics were the worst possible situation when buying a laptop. In some cases, it seemed like it could barely keep up with the tasks of Windows, let alone any programs on top of it. For sure, no one has ever associated Intel graphics with gaming, but that might be changing with Intel's new family of video cards called Intel Xe.

The family has a number of models, but when it comes to consumers there are two you will likely encounter. The first is the replacement for the older integrated graphics, which is dubbed Intel Xe LP. This low-powered graphics system will be part of the Gen12 architecture, also known as Tiger Lake. The new system will have up to twice the performance of the previous hardware, meaning that it might actually be able to keep up with higher demand.

On the desktop side of things is the Intel Xe HPG, a graphics card designed for all users - even gamers. Though it might take some work to convince gamers to give Intel a try, the company is confident in its abilities to break into this lucrative and growing market. Gamers will have to wait until 2021 to get their hands on these new products, however.

Not to be outdone, however, details about Nvidia's next generation of hardware leaked this week. Care of Micron, which makes some of the memory for the company, posted about its work on the upcoming RTX 3090. The memory that was leaked to be included could offer up to 21 Gbps, which is incredible speed. With the other improvements to the architecture, we could see a card up to twice the speed of the current RTX 2080ti. This would be a massive card, but could run as high as $2000. That would be quite an investment.

August 16, 2020 - Episode 570

F5 Live: Refreshing Technology

August 16, 2020 - Episode 570

2020-08-16

This week, there's an Uber problem in California, an Epic problem for Apple and Google, and a confusing problem for Netflix and Hulu.

Choosing a Webcam in a Shortage - Episode 234

Piltch Point

Choosing a Webcam in a Shortage - Episode 234

2020-08-09

Ever since the beginning of the international lockdown, several products have become difficult or impossible to find. One of the most high-profile products that are in short supply is webcams. The most sought after webcams are the Logitech c920 and the Razer Kiyo. Because they are the top-rated webcams, they were the first to disappear. Other manufacturers have made webcams in the past, but a whole new crop of companies have entered the fray in this hour of need.

Some of the companies make a high-quality product. Among these rising-star manufacturers is Ausdom. Better known for low-cost headphones, the company's webcams are quickly making their way onto best webcam lists. The top model is the Ausdom AF640, with the Ausdom AW615 right behind. But Ausdom is not the only company to creep onto the list, there is also the strangely named Papalook. While the Papalook PA452 may look sci-fi, it still does a great job for streams and conference calls.

Papalook is far from the strangest named webcam available, however. Amazon is filled with small brands with some bizarre names, and that tradition has carried over to the webcam industry. Sometimes the letters themselves look funny, while others are pronounced oddly. For example, Aoozi sounds more like a weapon than a webcam. However, its price could make it attractive at only $40, plus a 5% coupon. User reviews also look good on the platform, but we have no official knowledge. There's also DEPSTECH, which seems to have been created with a random letter generator. With a sale price of $30 and great user reviews, it might also be an option.

Your best bets will always be the top-rated products if you can get them, but at least we have a wide array of options in the current webcam drought.

August 9, 2020 - Episode 569

F5 Live: Refreshing Technology

August 9, 2020 - Episode 569

2020-08-09

This week, we're feeling the presidential ban hammer, upset by the Apple walled garden, and jealous of the Quibi free tier.

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