Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Is my laptop screen dead?

Laptop

Episode 1524

Daniel from Yucaipa, CA

Daniel turned on his laptop and the screen is dead. Rich says to look at the screen up close and see if he can barely see the image. If he can, then that indicates the backlight is bad. If there's nothing at all, then it could be a bad motherboard. Either way, it's time to get a new laptop, because repairing a laptop usually costs more than it's worth to buy a new one.

One thing he can try is to connect it to an external monitor via HDMI and see if he can see something. If he can, then the computer is OK, but the screen is dead.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Dick DeBartolo

Episode 1523

This STEM Kit (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is a great introduction to Engineering, Robotics, Circuit Building Projects for kids and teens. It's DIY science experiments use real motors, real hardware and real wood. Kids can build & rebuild endless robotic creations with a single kit. The company says it's for 8-12 year olds & teens. Dick was very impressed with the kit as you'll see in the video. There are 50+ real parts with 10 challenge cards, wood, electric motors, & hardware. You'll see a lot of the products kids built in the video.

What is Number Sharing on the Apple Watch?

Apple Watch ECG

Episode 1523

Rich from Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Rich updated to a smartphone out of necessity. He's hearing about the Apple Watch Series 4 and its heart features, but it says he needs "number share" for it. What is that? Rich says that the Apple Watch Series 4 is not only a smart watch, but an FDA approved medical device. He can actually take an ECG with it. But he'd need the higher end LTE version for $500, and number sharing, means he'd have to pay $10 a month to share his phone number with his Apple Watch.

Why is AirPlay stalling in AppleTV?

Apple TV

Episode 1522

Brian from Marina Valley, CA

Brian has two Apple TVs that stream music from his computer and iTunes, but lately it just stops after a few minutes. Apple says that it's a corrupted library, but Leo disagrees since it doesn't happen when he streams music on his computer directly. Leo has a hunch it's the router. Using AirPlay, he could be dealing with buffering issues. He also should make sure nothing else is connected to his AirPlay device. It could also be an issue with home sharing and his router configuration. It could be a blocked port issue.

How can I save money buying a new MacBook Pro?

Apple MacBook

Episode 1522

Scott from Whitby Island, WA

Scott would like to update his MacBook Pro, but he can't afford a high priced Mac. What are his options to save some money? Leo says that the MacBook Air is the least expensive at $999, but it hasn't been updated in years, and it has the lowest quality screen Apple sells. So Leo would recommend going to the Apple Store and see if he can live with it. His other choice would be the MacBook "escape," a 13" model without the Touch Bar. It wasn't updated from the most recent update, but it's very portable. The new MacBook Pros are only about $500 more than the escape.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Dick DeBartolo

Episode 1521

The Mr. Coffee COSORI Premium 24 Watt Stainless Steel Coffee Mug Warmer. It looked great in the photo. Just turn it on and set the temperature. (This is designed for use with flat-bottom mugs for the most effective warming.) Keep warm or warm up your drink to as high as 131F/55C. Notice the highest warming temperature is 131F, but the description also says: Temperature Range 77°-230°F (25°-110°C). Also this device is equipped with a power adapter plug to make the power supply voltage only 12v rather than 120V. Giz Wiz: It's also 24 watts vs. 17 watts for my old “Mr.

How can I clone my hard drive to an SSD?

Seagate SSD

Episode 1521

Stuart from Southern California

Stuart is a long time user of Norton Ghost. He just put a solid state drive into his laptop, and needs to crate a bootable version. Leo says that it's usually better to use the utility that comes with his SSD. It makes a bit for bit copy of his old hard drive. Western Digital and Seagate both make them and he can probably download them from their websites without having to buy another drive.

Do I need a new router?

Router

Episode 1521

Paul from Sun Valley, CA

Paul runs a utility to test his router and it always fails for buffer bloat. Should he get a new router? Leo says his does as well. When RAM got cheap, the router manufacturers boosted the RAM and it actually had the opposite effect by slowing down the buffer. Leo's opinion is that buffer bloat is over rated. He can ignore it. Eventually router makers have come to realize that buffer bloat can be handled in other ways. Leo recommends getting a second opinion with Netalyzer.

What laptop should I buy with a backlit keyboard?

Lenovo ThinkPad

Episode 1521

Steve from Arden, NC

Steve is retired and loves to run Linux and his computers. How can he get a backlit keyboard on his next laptop? Leo recommends a Lenovo ThinkPad. They have backlit keys, they are very robust, easily upgradeable and modifiable, and Linux works great on them out of the box. But if he runs Linux virtually then 16GB for RAM may not be enough. So he should get as much RAM as he can. Processor-wise, AMDs are fine.

Can I upgrade my Windows XP machine?

Episode 1520

Chester from

Chester is using Windows XP on his old computer. Can he put Windows 10 on it? Leo says you may be able to, but you can definitely run Linux on it. Look at Ubuntu. But have it run off an external drive to see if it'll work. Then if it does, you can install it. And Linux has a list of others specifically designed for older computers - https://www.linux.com/learn/intro-to-linux/2017/10/4-best-linux-distros-....