Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Can Amazon Echo control my stereo?

Chuck from Stallion Springs, CA

Episode 1456

Chuck got an Amazon Echo for Christmas and he's learned that he can control his stereo with it. Leo says that for $99, the Harmony hub will not only control your stereo, but also your TV, cable box, turn on your AV receiver, everything. Just buy telling it you want to listen or watch something. It's designed to work with your smartphone, but it also works with the Echo too.

Should I have to pay to have my router updated?

Caller from California

Episode 1456

The Caller got the Nighthawk router and now he's hearing he has to buy a service agreement to have it updated for security after owning it for 90 days. Leo says that's outrageous. Security updates should be included in a $200 router. Paying $129 a year is ridiculous. But we expect really cheap gear now and with a single tech call, you can lose your profit margin. It's just the nature of the technology business. But security is a basic need, and should be factored in.

Is there a bluetooth powered door lock?

Dan from New Jersey

Episode 1456

Dan has an aunt who lives a reclusive life and there are times she can't get up to open her own door. So is there a remote option that will allow her to open the door? Leo says sure. But what she will want is a camera and monitor so she can see who's at the door before she opens it. But that will require wifi. Schlage makes one that opens via bluetooth. Kwikset is the first company to do this as well. You can even get one that works with Amazon Echo. That's cool. But you need to make sure the company updates the bluetooth security regularly.

What's the best battery charger?

Steven from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1456

Steven wants to know what's the best battery charger out there. He's seen one on SharperImage.com that looks pretty good. It's a Universal Battery Charger and it promises to regenerate your batteries. Is it legit? Leo says that it's a bad idea to recharge alkaline batteries. Get a rechargeable NIMH battery charger. Check out theWirecutter.com. You can get the charge with four batteries for around $21.

Should I buy an Apple Watch 3 and iPhone X?

Chris from Miami FL

Episode 1456

Chris wants to get an Apple Watch Series 3 and the iPhone X. But now he's wondering if he should spend the money since he hears rumors that Apple is slowing down production. Leo says to consider the source. While some rumor bloggers are very well connected, what is really their job? For instance, Ming Chi Quo is primarily an analyst and his job is more to decide if it's worth buying Apple Stock over buying the iPhone. So far, there's been no confirmation of sales having been softened due to supply. If anything, it's been quite the opposite, especially with the Apple Watch.

How can I log into my Chromebook?

Nikki from Burbank, CA

Episode 1455

Nikki bought a Chromebook and she finds it wonderful with no worries about security issues. However, the main account to open it crashes a lot and boots her back out. What can she do? Leo says you can power wash the Chromebook to get it back to factory default settings. And you can do it before logging in. Here's how - https://support.google.com/chromebook/answer/183084?hl=en

The Giz Wiz ... on the ceiling

Episode 1455

Alexa was everywhere at CES 2018. One place it makes sense is in the new First Alert Onelink Safe & Sound. The company says this is the 1st smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm with a superior home speaker and Alexa built-in! A clever idea is that you're going to install smoke/CO detectors in a lot of rooms. Since the First Alert units need a speaker to call out the emergencies, why not install a top-notch speaker and Alexa, so you can also use the unit to communicate with Alexa. That way you can have music in every room, get the weather, etc. throughout the house.

What computer has the best security?

Mary from California

Episode 1455

Mary is a luddite who hates the obsession with technology and she feels that she's being forced down the road of technology and she'd rather not, especially since she's been hacked twice in the last six weeks. Leo says that for what Mary uses a computer for, she doesn't need windows AT ALL. What Mary would be better off with is a Chromebook. It's far simpler and not hackable. It's a very simple and highly secure operating system that you can just directly connect via ethernet and then when you turn it on, it goes straight to the browser.

Can I DBAN an SSD drive?

Mike from California

Episode 1455

Mike wants to wipe a a hybrid SSD drive using Derick's Boot and Nuke (DBAN). Is that a good idea. Leo says that SSDs are written to differently than spinning drive, and it also uses a technique called "wear leveling," which writes sectors randomly. This makes it difficult to fully and securely wipe a drive to prevent it from being recovered. You can do it to erase your drive, but it won't really remove the data. That's why Leo recommends encryption. Using BitLocker on Windows, or some other technique to secure your data with encryption. That way if it is read, it'll only be gibberish.