Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Does my printer have a memory that can be hacked?

Mike from Orange County, CA

Episode 1120

Mike has a printer that he needs to have repaired. But he's worried that the printer memory may get hacked. Leo says that it's definitely possible. But Leo doesn't think it's really a cause of concern. At best, it'll only remember the last job it had. So it's not really that big of an issue, just a theoretical concern. And just because the memory is there, doesn't mean you can get to it or that it will stay there once you unplug.

How can I teach kids computer management?

Jeremy from Thousand Oaks, CA

Episode 1120

Jeremy is an elementary school principal and he's rolling out a digital curriculum this year with Linux laptops for every student. Leo says that's great! Generally he'd recommend Chromebooks because they're safe and cheap. But if the Linux laptop works, in some ways it's even better. What Jeremy needs is a website or program that will teach kids basic computer skills. Leo says that more than just kids, who seemed wired for it, the parents need more help. But what about file management? File systems can be confusing and there's a security issue.

What's the best mic for podcasting?

Jim from Atlanta, GA

Episode 1120

Jim did podcasting long before it became popular back in the 90s. Leo says that's pioneering work! Jim had to walk away from it a few years ago but now he's ready to get started up again. He sees that Leo uses the Sennheiser SMD25, is that still a good option? Leo says no. He wouldn't go with that. He uses a dynamic directional mic. Leo recommends Bob Heil's HeilSound PR40. It's great for studio work and it'll make Jim's voice sound really great. They're about $350.

What streaming box should I buy?

Jerry from Fallbrook, CA

Episode 1119

Jerry is thinking about getting an AppleTV or Roku and cutting the cable. Leo says that there are a lot of choices and all of them are designed to do one thing ... connect your TV to the Internet so you can watch some online programming. But none of them offer all the options available. And if you have a true 6MBps connection, streaming will work great. But remember, if there's more than one computer or mobile device on your network pulling at that bandwidth, it's going to affect your stream. Which one should he get? Depends on the services you want.

What's the best RAID to backup media programs on my network?

Stan from San Francisco, CA

Episode 1118

Stan wants to clear off his DVR with a 2 Bay RAID to save his programs. But his beef is that there isn't a lot of documentation. Leo says don't worry about all that. Just use the PC settings. You can also use a DROBO, which allows you to hot swap drives if they fail so you don't have to stop it from running. But two drives isn't best because it's mirroring and you will only get half the capacity since they're identical. Leo prefers RAID 5 with three drives which gives you 2/3 storage 1/3 redundancy. It's robust. Companies that make eSata RAID 5 include Drobo.

Are you going to Maker Faire?

Doctor Mom from New York, NY

Episode 1117

Doctor Mom wants to plug the New York World Maker Faire, which is a gathering for people who love to make stuff. And Doctor Mom is there teaching. It's at the Hall of Science right behind Shea Stadium. Leo says that Maker Faire is a great event and Make Magazine gave birth to it. And Radio Shack is sponsoring it and that would be a good thing to keep them open if they harnassed the maker movement.

What computer should I buy for preschool?

Heather from Denver, CO

Episode 1117

Heather's preschool and buy a bulk deal on computers and she wants to know what's best. Leo says that Google's Chromebook may be the best option. All it has is a browser, and you use extensions that are online. But if you have dedicated software, then that's not going to work. What brand computers? HP, Dell or Apple? Leo says that Apple is a better choice because there's no real issue with security and you can actually run Windows on it if you need to. But they're twice as expensive as a garden variety Windows machine. Still, it's a better option.

Is Amazon a good place to buy backup cameras for cars?

Episode 1116

Dave from Chatsworth, CA
Esky Backup Rear View Camera System

Dave wants to get a backup camera that has infrared and 180 degree scope. He's seen them on Amazon for $250 down to $39. Leo says that most of them are made by Chinese companies and sold to American companies. Amazon fulfills it, so it's a good idea to buy from them, and they'll stand behind them. Dave should check the reviews from Amazon and he'll see how good people think they are.