laptops

Should I replace my hard drive with an SSD drive?

Jim from Las Vegas, NV

Episode 1406

Jim has an HP Pavilion laptop and he thinks his hard drive is about to fail. Should he put a solid state drive in it? Leo says that SSDs are much faster than spinning hard drives and more reliable. The question is, can the Pavilion support it? Ideally, you'll need a SATA 2 drive at least. SATA 3 even better if it supports it. Then there's whether you can install it yourself or would have to pay for a tech to do so. It'll have to be an ideal shape and size than the existing hard drive. But if all that works. Then absolutely! Get one.

Should I buy a Chromebook?

Episode 1404

Rick from San Clemente, CA
Samsung Chromebook Plus

Rick is thinking of making a reverse "Switch." His Mac died and a friend recommended he get a Chromebook since he makes his business on the Internet. Leo says that Chromebooks are a good option, and the ChromeOS is the most secure operating system out there. If something goes wrong, the Powerwash feature would get him right back to where he started.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1402

Dick DeBartolo

The AirBar Sensor by Neonode turns your non touch screen laptop into a touchscreen computer. The sleek, lightweight device emits an invisible light field over a laptop screen that senses touch from any finger, stylus, paintbrush, etc. AirBar enables touch for most PC laptops running Windows® 10, as well as the MacBook Air 13”. The sleek matte black (PC) or brushed aluminum (Mac) bar attaches to the bottom of a display with magnets and connects instantly through a USB port.

Can I still get a laptop with a CD drive?

Episode 1402

Kathy from Tustin, CA
Dell Inspiron 15 5000

Kathy wants a new computer with a built-in CD drive. Leo says that they're getting fewer and farther between, and both Microsoft and Apple have stopped making them. Dell's Inspiron has one, and Acer and Asus both have it. Is Costco a good place to buy them? Leo says that the advantage of Costco is both their return policy and their extended warranty. But they may be discontinued models as well. So she'll want to be sure that isn't the case.

What computer should I get for editing?

Episode 1401

Doug from Belmont, CA
Asus ZenBook

Doug is starting a video business and he's looking at video editing options. He's thinking about the Asus ZenBook. Leo says that's a nice notebook and he can load it up with RAM. He recommends 8GB minimum, but 16GB is even better. He'll want a solid state hard drive as well. Leo also recommends upgrading to a discrete Nvidia card. It'll have more cache for rendering. A desktop is going to give him more bang for the buck, and they're upgradable.

Can I use a large monitor with my laptop?

Don from Culver City, CA

Episode 1401

Don dropped his laptop and the screen broke. He was thinking about buying a 20" monitor and plugging it in. Leo says he can do that, but he could also look on eBay and see if he can find the same model for cheap and have the screen swapped out. Absent that, turning it into a desktop replacement by plugging in a high resolution monitor is a good option.

Will I be able to bring my laptop to Europe?

Episode 1395

Sara from Studio City, CA
Microsoft Excel on iOS

Sara is a painter and is traveling to Florence, Italy to showcase some of her art. She's worried she may not be able to bring her laptop back when she returns, though. Leo says that policy hasn't been decided yet on airlines from Europe. But it could, and if so, she'll have to check her laptop in her bag. Or she could ship it back. She will be able to return with it, just not in the main cabin.

Leo says if she has a tablet or iPhone, she could use that instead, and Excel runs quite well on iOS.

Phones Can Legally be Seized at the Border

Episode 1394

TSA

When a story came out recently that a JPL Engineer was detained and his work phone seized, it caused Leo to do some research about your legal rights coming back into the country. Turns out that the 4th amendment's protection against unlawful search and seizure has been suspended when you're in "international waters," and that's what an airport technically is. So the Border Patrol and the TSA have the legal right to take your phone, computer and tablets and demand the password to access all your data.