USB-C

How can I find safe USB-C cables?

Episode 1515

Johnny from Atlanta, GA
Microsoft Surface Go

Johnny picked up a Windows Surface Go tablet, which Leo calls the cutest computer ever. It's 9.7" with Keyboard and Pen, and USB charging. But Johnny got a charging adapter for it that bricked the computer. Leo says to never buy a third party charger unless he's sure it's a legitimate product. Amazon doesn't police their third party sellers very well, and a lot of them are either counterfeit or very cheaply made.

How can I connect Thunderbolt 3 to USB-C?

Episode 1491

Brian from Nashville, TN
SanDisk Dual Drive Type-C

Brian runs an external Thunderbolt 2 drive and Parallels to dual boot into Windows. He upgraded his SSD, which works on his laptop, but it won't attach to his Mac Mini. How can he adapt it? Leo says that the Thunderbolt 3 connector is the same as the USB-C connector. But that doesn't mean it has the Thunderbolt controller built in. So he may need to get a Thunderbolt 3 external enclosure to use it, but it's not cheap. He could use a Type A USB 3.1 data cable connector to the Type-C drive and he should get full throughput.

Are all USB cables safe to use?

Episode 1482

Alan from West LA, CA
Anker USB Type-C Cable

Alan wants to know if all USB-C cables are created equal. Leo says they aren't. In fact, some cheaper models may end up bricking his phone! So he'll have to be careful. Type C cables are better built, and they also transfer data. In the end, he'll get what he pays for. Leo recommends braided cables. They last a lot longer and are about $10. Leo likes Anker. Alan should follow Benson Leung. He is really into testing cables.

Why can't I use a third party charger with my HP laptop?

Episode 1409

David from Orange Park, FL
HP Spectre x2

David bought a new HP convertible laptop, and HP has made it so he can't use third party charging systems through the USB C port. Leo says that's anticompetitive, and HP is one of the few companies that does it. It just makes people angry that they are locked into using proprietary accessories with a standard open source port.

Leo suspects that maybe it's just an issue of needing more wattage since he can charge with it while the computer is turned off.

Will USB become obsolete?

Episode 1335

Rowan from San Bernardino, CA
Transcend JetFlash 790 USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Rowan wonders if USB thumb drives are becoming obsolete like so many other data drives before it. Leo says that no format will last forever, but there's still plenty of life left in USB. We need to keep an eye on how technology progresses and transfer the data over when the time comes, though. Rowan will likely be able to get an adapter for USB-C, which is the current standard. The other thing he can do is use an open source backup, like TAR, which will make the backup easily transferrable. The best way is to go into the cloud, though. He should have both.

Apple's New Notebook Has Users Up in Arms

Episode 1171

Apple MacBook

Because of it's new USB-C adapter working as the sole connector for both power and data, Apple fans are upset with the new MacBook. One reason people are upset is that to use anything else, you'd have to pay an additional $79 for a dongle.

Still, it offers a 9 hour battery life, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD drive. But it's $1300, so it's not cheap. It's also lighter than a MacBook Air. Could the Air be not be long for this world? Leo says he likes the USB-C option and offers props to Apple for advancing the technology. But he's keeping his powder dry before he buys it.