Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

What's the best home alarm option?

Paul from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1407

Paul is looking for a good alarm system for his home. What's the best? Leo says that the easiest way is to go to an alarm company like Bay Alarm. But you need a phone line for it. They charge a monthly fee for monitoring. Leo says that all of them are about the same, though. You can do it yourself with Simply Safe. The idea there is you install your own sensors, and cameras, and it monitors for a more affordable rate. Lastly there's a total DIY with cameras, alarms and motion sensors like RING, which allows you to view your home from your phone. NEST is another.

What's the difference between a traditional hard drive and a solid state drive?

Michelle from Northridge, CA

Episode 1407

Leo says that all traditional spinning hard drives are basically the same. They're basically like record players, but instead of vinyl, they use spinning metal plates. Those plates are magnetic, so they can be magnetized. They also have read heads, at least one per platter, which are like the needle on the record player. Except instead of reading the grooves in vinyl, they're reading the magnetic signals coming off the spinning platter. Because it's a computer, everything is recorded as 1's or 0's, and it's very easy with magnetic material to have a charge or no charge.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1406

Dick DeBartolo

Meet the Perfect Fit No Hole Dress Belt.The holeless pants belt buckle has a hidden ratchet adjustment system that features 32 different positions for a custom fit from waist sizes 28 to 48 inches. When you receive the belt, trim it down to the size you want for a the perfect amount of overlap. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully and trim the straight end of the belt, not the tapered end that will be visible. The no-holes dress belt tightens with a gentle pull and releases by lifting the front of the buckle.

Should I replace my hard drive with an SSD?

Episode 1406

Jim from Las Vegas, NV
SSD

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 are more reliable. The question is, can the Pavilion support it? Ideally, he'll need a SATA 2 drive. SATA 3 would be even better if it supports it. Then there's the question of whether he can install it himself or would he have to pay for a tech to do so. It'll have to be in ideal shape and size than the existing hard drive. If all that works, then he should absolutely get one.

How can I get my Chromebook fixed?

Episode 1406

Ethan from Los Angeles, CA
Chromebook Pixel

Ethan has a Google Pixel laptop and he's having an issue with water on the keyboard. He's tried airing out the laptop. He's also popped off some keys to try and dry it out. Leo says the sad part is that Google has stopped making parts for the Pixel, and has by and large stopped supporting it. A local shop could possibly fix it. But the problem is, he doesn't have parts. So he'll have to find old Pixels on eBay to swap it out. At the end of the day, it may be just cheaper to buy a new one.

Elon Musk is Worried about an AI Apocalypse

Episode 1406

Elon Musk is afraid that machines are getting smarter and smarter and he worries that they are an existential threat to humanity and may decide that they can rule over us or even worse, get rid of us. Leo thinks Musk has watched too many movies. Cites Rodney Brooks, an artificial intelligence expert from MIT, who said most people worried about that aren't working in AI, and he says that they aren't too worried because AI is too hard to perfect. Most are limited machines who can move beyond their programming.

Do I need another video card for 4K?

Episode 1405

Roy from Pasadena, CA
Video card

Roy has a high resolution 4K monitor, but his friends say if he adds a second video card, it could give him better resolution. Is that true? Leo says no. A newer one with more RAM could help, but if he's driving the monitor at its full resolution, then it's not going to get any better than that. A second video card would give him the ability to add more monitors, though.

Why can't I use my Echo's intercom?

Episode 1405

Ron from Boston, MA
Amazon Echo Dot

Ron has a bunch of Echos all around his house but he can't use the intercom feature. Leo says he'll need to use the command "Drop in." He'll have to be sure they're enabled on each Echo and choose who can drop in as well. That's done in the Echo app. Leo says he'll need to sign up for Echo's calling and messaging as well, which is also in the app. His contact list will not sync with Echo, either. Leo says he'll have to sync his contacts to Google and then log into Google through the app.