Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Is there a backup power brick for a laptop?

Episode 1620

Jeffrey from Burbank, CA

Jerry got a new Microsoft Surface Pro at work. Is there an external power pack he can use with it? Leo says that laptops like a lot of wattage, more than an average power brick can provide. The Surface also has a proprietary charging connector, though it could charge with a Type-C connector as well. You want a power brick that can provide more power than the surface uses. It also needs to have enough juice to charge the battery in one fell swoop.

How can I extend the range of bluetooth?

Bluetooth

Episode 1619

Jeff from Manhattan, NY

Jeff has seen old time radios that have had a bluetooth receiver put in them so you can use them as a cool, retro bluetooth speaker. Leo says those a really cool idea. Is there such thing as a bluetooth extender? Leo says there is, but bluetooth is designed to be short-range. WiFi is a lot better and has five times the range. There are plenty extenders though that boost the range. Miccus makes a bluetooth extender with 160-foot range for $40.

Check out these old time radio bluetooth receivers at Wavelengthantiques.com

Will my hybrid battery last as long as my car?

Hybrid Battery

Episode 1619

Myron from Pittsburgh, PA

Myron has a hybrid vehicle with battery assist. Will it last? Leo says that early hybrids may not have been that sophisticated, but that he wouldn't worry too much about its battery life. They're designed for that. What's more important is how you keep your batteries within a set temperature range.

Are they safe if there's an accident? Leo says the battery was designed for impact and is why those hybrid cars are a little heavier. They absorb and deflect more impact energy. They also have crumple zones to absorb the impact. That makes modern cars far safer now than decades past.

Sam Abuelsamid and the RestoMod

Sam Abuelsamid

Episode 1619

Sam joins Leo today to talk about the current trend of "RestoMods," which is taking an older car, restoring it, and then adding more advanced mechanics to it. Modern brake systems, suspensions, and engines to name a few. That way you get a car that looks like a classic but drives like a modern car. The latest iteration is to create a classic car with an electric drive train. And there's a company that's doing Jaguar Type E retrofits. How much? Sam's guess is that conversions will start at $50K.

What Do I Need to Start a Podcast?

Anchor

Episode 1618

Edward from Edmonton, WA

Edward is getting into podcasting for his company. It'll be for internal distribution. Leo says that's a great idea. Any company that has a large workforce should have a podcast. What's the simplest way to do it? Leo says that the easiest way to start is with a phone. He can use the app Anchor.FM. A mobile device will have a pretty good mic built-in, but he could also get some additional hardware like the RODE Interview Kit.  The Sound Devices USB Pre II is another good option. The real key though will be consistency. Do it every week.

Ed can also record via Skype. 

Can I Remotely Partition a Hard Drive?

Windows

Episode 1618

Irwin from New York, NY

Irwin is trying to partition a laptop hard drive remotely. But he can't do it and reinstall Windows. Leo says one thing to try is defragging the hard drive to give it all the unoccupied free space it needs in order to reinstall Windows. The Chatroom says one thing to do is use the GPT partition. But Leo advises against it. Windows knows what it's doing when it's installing Windows, so trust it to give it the proper partition. Should he go to DOCSIS 3.1? Leo says yes. It has some power management features that will reduce buffer bloat and save energy. And DOCSIS 4 is on the way.