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June 6, 2021 - Episode 596 (F5 Live: Refreshing Technology)

This week, Area-51 is under attack, Nintendo is recovering from piracy, and the DoJ is getting serious about ransomware.

How to Fix a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) - Episode 260 (Piltch Point)

If you use a computer, you've experienced some sort of a crash. Even Apple, despite its marketing, experiences hardware failures, software conflicts, or driver issues. But, there's a very famous and painful type of computer failure that nearly everyone is familiar with: the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). This is the screen that Windows shows when something has gone tragically wrong. To recover from one of these failures can be a challenge, but Tom's Hardware has got a lot of information to help you get back up and running.

One of the best ways to recover from a BSOD is to keep the stop code or the QR code on the error screen. This can give you a lot of information about what happened because the screen can be caused by a lot of different issues. The debugging process is different for CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED, versus IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL (or the various other errors). You can then head to Microsoft's page for some next steps. But, Windows is set by default to reboot after a failure, so you're up against a clock. If you lose the details, it's okay - there's another way.

Windows creates a memory dump during a crash, and you can use the minidump file to debug your issue. There is software available to read and interpret the file to give you insight into what happened so you can undo it. But, even with all of the information, you might need the trial and error method.

Safe Mode is a great tool for trial and error. It prevents a bunch of possibly problematic aspects of Windows from loading. From here, you can turn things on one at a time to determine if a new driver, Windows Update, or piece of software has caused the issue.

Dell hit with class-action suit over Alienware Area-51m upgradability

At CES 2019, Dell brand Alienware announced the Area-51M R1 gaming notebooks. While there is nothing unusual about Alienware announcing a gaming laptop, this lineup was special. The company promised the ability to upgrade various aspects of the computer, but Robert Felter believes that Dell misrepresented the upgrade path for these computers. As such, he filed a lawsuit against the company, looking for class-action status, alleging fraud and false advertising claims.

The company's promised big system upgradability, including the processor and video card. It is famously difficult and often impossible to upgrade the video card in a laptop, so this was a major selling point. But the promise was not nearly as exciting as Dell would have had you think. The laptops launched with Intel 9th Generation processors, and the 10th Generation launched with a new chipset, leaving the 51M R1 with no upgrade path. Also, despite Dell's proprietary Dell Graphics Form Factor (DGFF), the company created no upgrade path to the RTX 20-series Super cards that replaced the previous generation.

Dell has maintained that the part manufacturers' upgrade paths are outside of its control, meaning that they had no way of stopping Intel and Nvidia from changing the underlying technology to prevent them from offering their customers the ability to upgrade to the new generation. They also state that the details of the upgrade were advertised as within-generation, and never showed future generation capabilities.

However, Robert Felter disagrees. His attorney, David W. Kani, told our friends at Tom's Hardware,

Dell's advertisement to the public didn't place any restrictions on the upgradeability of the laptop. They also never disclosed that those with the highest spec CPU and/or GPU that their device would not be upgradeable.

The suit also specifies that Dell has insider knowledge about Intel and Nvidia's technology landmarks and whether or not hardware will be compatible. As such, the company knowingly advertised the upgradability of its laptops while knowing that they would not be compatible with the next generation of hardware from both partners.

Currently the suit is seeking class-action status, hoping to include customers from Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. He is represented by Brian Mahany, who argued the largest single defendant case in US history and class action lawyers Steve Hochfelsen and David Kani.

May 30, 2021 - Episode 595 (F5 Live: Refreshing Technology)

This week, Google's adding some Fuchsia to its home, Valve is bringing Linux to your palm, and a lion roars at Amazon HQ.

Chia: What is It and How Do You Farm It - Episode 259 (Piltch Point)

If you follow the cryptocurrency world, you've likely encountered Chia - the new currency that works differently from all the others. Normally, coins are mined through a process called "proof of work." This requires a lot of computing power, which in turn requires a lot of electrical power. The reward is a coin in the corresponding currency, whether it be Bitcoin, Etherium, Doge, or others. But Chia doesn't use proof of work, and instead uses a Proof of Time and Space algorithm.

This altered process doesn't rely heavily on processing power, but instead on storage. Tom's Hardware has a rundown on what is needed, but the concept is modeled on farming. You have a hard drive, which is untamed land. You create a plot on that land in order to farm. You plant your seeds and wait for your number to be chosen in order to reap the rewards.

The biggest issue with farming Chia is that blocks come to you on a random lottery system. So, you could be waiting for a very long time before one of your plots matures, or you could hit two in a row. There is absolutely no telling or predicting how or when you might receive anything for your time. In other systems, there is a bit of the unknown involved, in that you are never guaranteed a block to mine. But, blocks are readily available, and the amount of work for one is enough to distribute between multiple systems. Plus, most crypto systems start to assign blocks to known entities - essentially individuals or pools that are guaranteed to complete a block. Chia is working to add pooling in order to offer wider distribution of rewards, but unlike with Bitcoin, it's not quite the same compromise being made to join a pool.

Linsoul KZ ZS10 Pro Wired In-Ear Monitors (PLUGHITZ Live Unboxed)

KZ was founded in 2008 by classical musicians and it has generated a huge amount of industry buzz by creating products that have seriously redefined the ratio of cost to performance.

Linsoul, founded by Crazy HiFi team, is designed to provide customers with the well-designed best sound quality of Hi-Fi audio products. Driven by well-design style and hi-tech sound, Linsoul aims to bring you a new inspiring music experience with innovative and stylish headphones. So here we bring the KZ ZS10 PRO 4BA+1DD earphones for you.

KZ ZS10 PRO adopts a similar design to the ZSN and ZSN Pro. The mirror-finished, stainless steel faceplate is gorgeous. It's held on with three tiny star-shaped screws, features three tiny round ports, and has three engraved accent lines. The body is made of a colored, semi-transparent plastic, which displays the plethora of drivers and wires contained within. The fit and finish are superb and the body to faceplate mating is spot on. The nozzle is a brass-colored aluminum alloy tube, ridged on the end to hold the ear tip and contains a small silver screen. The ZS10 Pro is equally comfortable and good-looking. It is a fantastic-looking IEM.

Google Fuchsia is finally ready for release, coming to Nest Hub first

Google's development philosophy has long been, "If one of something is good, three is better." One great example of this has been the company's confused messaging strategy, which neither consumers nor analysts can understand. Another three is better than one division of Google is in operating systems. Everyone knows Android and Chrome OS, but a third one has been lurking in the shadows, waiting for the opportunity to strike - and that opportunity is now for Fuchsia.

Fuchsia has been Google's project OS, whose purpose has always been nebulous. At one point, it was believed to be a unification project, similar to Windows 10 bringing together Windows and Windows Phone. This would bring Android and Chrome OS together under a single umbrella. That idea was abandoned, and the purpose of Fuchsia was left to fate. Now, we know that Google intends to release Fuchsia on devices, at least to start.

The first home for the new OS will be the original, first generation Google Nest Hub. In fact, as you read this, you may already have received the update if you're part of the Preview Program. If your screens looks slightly different, but you weren't sure, then you've got it. After this roll-out is complete, and the company is happy with the results, they intend to bring it to other, and possibly all, company devices.

If you are a regular user of your Google Nest Hub and are worried about a loss of capability, you can rest easy. The company has promised that you should notice almost no changes at all, if everything goes right. After the release to this and a few other products is complete and the software's stability is confirmed, new features will begin to roll out, making the experience on these products better than pre-Fuchsia.

Back in 2018, Google's plan was for Fuchsia OS to eventually replace Android. Those plans have obviously been placed on hold, but the ultimate goal might still be in place. Fuchsia could eventually power all of Google's devices, and all of their partner's devices. While Google is not known for smooth transitions in technology, the final result could be a positive, single and unified experience - some day.

Vont Aura Plug-In LED Night Light with Light Sensor (PLUGHITZ Live Unboxed)

*NOTE: Save 10% on all Vont products using promo code 10PLUGHITZ*

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Feels cool to the touch even after extensive use, certified safe to use for long periods without any fire hazards for your peace of mind, without taking up too much space. Cutting-edge LED technology allows for it to automatically light up your hallways, closets, and corners when ambient light is not enough to illuminate your surroundings. Providing more than just warm night lights, we value your complete satisfaction with our products that all carry a lifetime promise of excellent quality, no less.

The perfect brightness: Our smart night lights provide just the right amount of light to walk around your house without turning your main lights on. Not too bright, not too dim. Just the right amount. Uses non-invasive warm light which is perfect for going to sleep. Smart illumination: Automatically turns on as the ambient light becomes insufficient. Intelligently adjusts itself throughout the night. Say bye to stubbed toes and say hi to a smarter home.

Energy efficient: These led night lights are super power efficient. Comes in eco-friendly packaging. No more hassle of changing bulbs. Save both the environment and your wallet. Extremely compact: Gorgeously designed with a modern minimalist look, easily fits in small spaces and does not obstruct other outlets. Has a life span of 10,000+ hours. We use 100% ABS which is fire-resistant. Lifetime Warranty: You can rest in knowing that this product is of utmost quality. Warranted for life, it is covered against loss, theft, and defects in materials and workmanship for as long as you own the product.

May 16, 2021 - Episode 594 (F5 Live: Refreshing Technology)

This week, Zigbee makes the IoT Matter, Discord is playing fewer videogames, and Apple is trying to bring back the Beats.

Tech Changes Over the Past 25 Years - Episode 258 (Piltch Point)

Tom's Hardware was founded 25 years ago and made a major impact on the internet. In the years since the first article was published, a lot of things have changed in the computer industry, while other things have remained mostly unchanged. As part of the anniversary, Avram decided to look back on the industry, rather than the site, and show how the industry has progressed.

For example, let's look at the core of the computer: the processor. In 1996, the bleeding edge, top-of-the-line processor was the Pentium P54CS, which ran at 200 megahertz. In today's world, processors in the megahertz range are for microcontrollers, not for computers. Instead, the Ryzen 9 5950x, today's top processor, runs at 3.5 gigahertz with a max boost of 4.9 gigahertz. But, in addition, there are 16 CPU cores, compared to the single-core of the old Pentium.

Another area where there has been significant change is in monitors. In fact, the fact that we use a screen at all is the only real similarity between 2021 and 1996. The Sony Multiscan 20se II was the top monitor in 1996 and was a whopping 21" of 1600x1200 glory. This CRT monitor weighed 66 pounds and was almost as deep as it was wide. Today, the LG 27GN950 offers 4K gaming with a 1 millisecond response time at 144 hertz. All of this in a 27" screen that is incredibly thin.

But, not everything has changed completely. The mouse continues to exist, and exist very similarly. The Microsoft IntelliMouse premiered in 1996, bringing with it the design we are all comfortable with today, including the scroll wheel. But, this model of the mouse still used a ball. Today, the mouse looks similar, but has a lot of new buttons and has ditched the ball for an array of optical sensors.

Of course, a lot of other technology has changed, including storage (hard drives and removable storage), phones, memory, and more. Avram discusses some of it and will publish a full article at Tom's Hardware.

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