Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Is buying a used computer a good idea?

Episode 1501

Sandy from Costa Mesa, CA
Windows 10

Sandy bought a used computer from a guy, and it's filled with software. Is that legit? Leo says that chances are, the computer hardware is fine, but it will be filled with pirated software that she doesn't have a right to or paid for. And chances are, it'll be a timed trial that will stop working down the road. That's a drag, especially if the timed software is Windows itself. But by then, the guy is gone. And he may also have hidden key loggers and stuff.

How can I save money with an inkjet printer?

Episode 1501

Frank from Huntington Beach, CA
Epson WorkForce ET-4750 EcoTank All-in-One Supertank Printer

Frank wants to get an inkjet printer, but he doesn't know if they're really worth the money. Leo says that while the printers themselves are cheap, the ink is extremely expensive. And he can't refill the cartridges because 1) they're messy and 2) they often won't work in the printer because of proprietary circuitry. It also affects the print head. So Leo doesn't recommend it. Frank could buy re-manufactured cartridges, but at that point, he may as well just bite the bullet and buy a new one. Plus, some cartridges replace the print head in the process.

Can I control a phone from my computer?

Adam from Ontario, CA

Episode 1500

Adam wants to know if he can control a mobile device from his computer. Leo says that Remote PC does not work in the opposite direction, unless the phone is physically connected. You could control another laptop from a laptop, or Desktop. But not a phone. So in the case of your phone being stolen, you have to get your carrier or phone manufacturer involved to brick it or wipe is remotely.

Is there a router not made in China?

Episode 1499

April from Brooksville, FL
ASUS AC3200 Wireless Tri-Band (Dual 5GHz + Single 2.4GHz) Gigabit Wi-Fi Router

April's router keeps dropping her. Leo says that routers do wear out and after several years, they become unreliable. It may just be time to get a new one. But her husband doesn't want one made in China. Leo says good luck with that. TP-Link has good routers, but that's in China. There are some that are made in Taiwan. That would do the trick. Asus also makes great routers. They are also updatable using DD-WRT open source firmware.

Can I use an HDMI splitter with a MacBook Air?

Episode 1499

Rich from Tuscon, AZ
The Audiobook Speakeasy

Rich is an audiobook narrator and he just finished building his own vocal booth to record his audio files. But since the booth is so small, he wants to have his laptop on the outside with a monitor connected and a monitor on the inside. WIll an HDMI splitter do the job with a 2012 MacBook Air? Leo says that a splitter can degrade the image quality. The Air also has a mini display port, so he'd need an adapter for HDMI. They're pretty cheap. The Air won't really have an issue with the splitter.

What's a good laptop for an elementary school student?

Episode 1499

Caesar from Chula Vista, CA
Acer Chromebook Tab 10

Caesar's daughter gets all her homework assignments from a website online, and he's going to have to update their computer so it will work better. What should he get? Leo recommends Chromebooks because most schools are using them now. Leo prefers Acer because they have a wide array of models in his price range. Leo recommends going down to a local Best Buy and see which one is best. The 15" is a great option for about $200, but the 11" may be good enough.