Hardware

What computer should I give my grandson?

Episode 1346

Paul from San Diego, CA
Piper Computer Kit

Paul is looking to buy a PC for his grandson who needs it for school and who's into Minecraft. Can a Chromebook work for that? Leo says that a Chromebook is great for students, and he can use many apps online. But since he needs to use specific applications and is into gaming, he'll need a PC. Leo likes Dell and Lenovo. Getting one with a touch screen is a good idea, but that's going to get pricey. Black Friday sales are still going on, though. Acer is a good low cost, high quality laptop. He should Avoid HP.

White House Releases Augmented Reality App

Episode 1346

1600 app

The White House has released an augmented reality app. The app called "1600" allows anyone with a smartphone or tablet and a $1 bill to take a tour of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Leo believes it's far more useful than virtual reality.

Microsoft is the first to leverage augmented reality with HoloLens. It's currently $3,000, but that should get cheaper soon. Leo says he wouldn't be surprised to see if plummet in price by next year.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1345

Dick DeBartolo

This week's gadget is a 2017 CES Innovation Awards Honoree, the MSI VR One wearable gaming computer. It's the world’s thinnest and lightest VR backpack PC. The VR backpack PC weighs only 7.5 lbs. Powered by a unique cooling system to prolong gaming sessions, it comes with swappable batteries, eliminates cables and cords, and is now available to deliver a truly wireless VR experience.

What should I get for my first computer?

Episode 1345

Shirley from North Hollywood, CA
Apple iPad Pro

Shirley is retired and is looking for a computer. Leo says that a Chromebook is probably the best option for Shirley, and she'll need an internet connection. Shirley could also get a Chromebook with LTE.

Another option is a tablet like an iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab. She shouldn't get a cheap one, though. Leo advises getting one with LTE so that she doesn't have to rely on Wi-Fi. T-Mobile is a good option. Leo also advises a deal of $25 with unlimited data from them when she buys the tablet up front. That's a good deal.

How can I show my photos on my 4K TV?

Episode 1345

Bernie from Colorado
Synology DiskStation

Bernie scanned all his slides and has them stored on his NAS, as well has having burned them onto Blu-ray discs. Is there a way to play ISOs on his 4K TV? Bernie will probably need a media server running Kodi.

The chatroom says that Synology Disc Station manager has the ability to mount virtual drives in File Station. Then he can use DSPhoto to play it back. VLC works with it as well. Windows 10 can also cast to the XBox One. There's plenty of ways to do it.

Is a third party fingerprint reader safe?

Episode 1345

Jonathan from Scottsdale, AZ
Eikon Mini Fingerprint Reader

Jonathan has a Windows laptop and he wants to add a fingerprint scanner. The one he's looking at works with WIndows Hello, but there's no real branding. Leo says that chances are, one Chinese company makes it and then sells it to multiple companies who put their name on it. The good news is that it works with Windows Hello. Jonathan should check out the Eikon fingerprint scanner. It's the one he recommends, and it's only $20.

Hands-on with the Microsoft Surface Studio

Episode 1345

Microsoft Surface Studio

The Microsoft Surface Studio is, believe it or not, Microsoft's first desktop computer. It's got a high resolution 27" screen and Leo simply can't stop playing with it. It's ideal for artists. It's expensive, though, at $3,000. What's disappointing is that the low end model at that price point only has 8GB of RAM, an i5 processor, and a 5400 rpm spinning hard drive. So Leo thinks it's a bit underpowered. He also says it's a great tool for those in creative endeavors.

How can I use my phone to track my things?

Scott from Hisperia, CA

Episode 1344

Scott uses a Windows phone and he can't use a device tracker. So he's looking to get an Android phone to use for it. Would that work without a cell network? Leo says that since it uses bluetooth, it wouldn't need one. Any bluetooth device that runs iOS or Android software will work, but it's limited to about 100 feet. Check out Gear Eye - http://www.doddlenews.com/blogs/kickstarter-geareye-makes-easier-indies-...

(Disclaimer: The Tracker is a sponsor)

Can I use FreedomPop with my alarm?

Mark from Bakersfield, CA

Episode 1344

Mark hears that FreedomPop is a free service for under 500MB. He's thinking of using it with his home alarm system, but it's ethernet hardwired and he's not sure it will work. Any ideas? Leo says a Wi-Fi Ethernet dongle is a cheap and easy way to do it. Leo says to also look at the fine print, as he seems to remember that FreedomPop doesn't work with burglar alarms from legal reasons. Another option is a CDMA cellular radio interface.