Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Could a bad USB cable cause my Mac to shut down?

Cynthia from Malibu, CA

Episode 1200

Cynthia plugged her iPhone into her laptop and when she did, it shut down her Mac. She was told that it could do that with a third party USB cable. Leo says it's not likely a compatibility issue, but it could be a short in the cable. What about a message that says "battery needs service?" Leo says that's more likely the issue as batteries do stop charging after about 500 recharge cycles. So Leo believes the shut down was coincidental. Getting a new battery should solve that problem.

What Windows laptop should I buy?

Episode 1200

Linda from Cranston, RI
Dell Inspiron

Linda wants a Windows laptop for doing Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, Quickbooks, and storing photos. Leo says any Windows laptop will be able to handle that, as those tasks aren't very demanding. She will need plenty of storage, though, for the photos. Linda doesn't mind if it's heavy, but she does want a big screen on it. It's basically a desktop replacement. She'd like to find something under $500, if possible. Leo recommends not going too far under $500, though.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1199

Dick DeBartolo

This week's gadget is the Pancake Bot. Using Lego Minestorm and two ketchup bottles, the inventor of the Pancake Bot created a computer controlled app on the iPad to draw out and 3D print Pancakes! He took the idea to kickstarter and raised nearly a half million dollars! By using a combination of compressed air and a vacuum, the Pancake Bot controls where the batter is dispensed. Onboard controls let you fine-tune the dispensing of the batter as it glides over the griddle. Suggested retail price mentioned at the show was $299.00.

How can I listen to my music on any device without the Internet?

Jesse from Kentucky

Episode 1199

Jesse is an audiophile who loves high resolution music. He wants to be able to listen to his music on any device without having to rely on an internet connection to do it. He was thinking about using Plex, but isn't sure how it works. Leo says that Plex doesn't pull music from the internet. It relies on local storage and then can route it to any device on the network. He could then send it to Roku to play. He should be able to stream 192 kb audio just fine over Wi-Fi.

Why can't I see anything at an angle on my computer monitor?

George from Houston, TX

Episode 1199

George bought a cheap LCD monitor and he has trouble seeing it from an angle. Leo says that's how cheaper monitor brands save money, but using LCD screens that have poor angles of view. He can see, but the angle gets pretty dim. Leo advises avoiding places like Fry's and go with NewEgg.

Should George get rid of it? Leo says not really. But most computers do take multiple monitors, so why not get another? If he can return it, however, maybe that's a better option.

How can I listen to stereo sound with my Bluetooth cochlear implant?

Marcus from Wisconsin

Episode 1198

Marcus has a new cochlear implant that uses Bluetooth and he wants to know if he can get a regular Bluetooth headset for the other ear and get stereo sound. Leo says it's doable, but he'll have an issue with sync. He'll want to be sure that his implant is A2DP compliant so he can get the best quality sound.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1197

Dick DeBartolo

This week's gadget from Dickie D is called Perfect Drink, which uses a scale to perfectly mix the best cocktails. You can even tell it what alcohol you have, and it will suggest recipes. The scale is connected to your mobile device and you use the app to mix your drinks. No need to measure anymore. It includes a scale that's accurate to 1 gram, stainless steel shaker, 3.5mm connection cable and stand for your iPad, Smartphone, etc. It retails for $49.99, but it’s only about $42.00 at the Amazon link below.