Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Can I get recorded TV programs off my TIVO?

Episode 1470

Michael from Kansas City, MO
TiVo BOLT VOX

Michael wants to know if he can get the programs off his TIVO. Leo says it was possible with the Series 1 TIVO. But now the data is encrypted, so it's almost impossible to decrypt it and copy it off. TiVo does have a feature called TIVO to Go, but the only way he could really do it is to exploit the analog hole. That will lower the quality a bit, but he can use the analog connections that would go to his TV and connect them to a recorder. Then he could play the content back and record it in real time. It can be complicated though, because of HDCP.

Does FileVault slow down Macs?

Episode 1470

Laurie from Santa Monica, CA
FileVault

Laurie has been having shut down issues on her MacBook Pro and has been told by an Apple Genius that it's because of FileVault being turned on. Is that causing problems? Leo says absolutely not. That doesn't impact the Mac at all. There's no hit to performance either. FileVault is a good idea because it will keep her data encrypted in case her laptop gets stolen. Leo says what's more likely the case is that her battery is bad and that Apple will replace it.

How can I backup the Ring doorbell to my NAS?

Episode 1470

Naomi from Denver, CO
Ring

Naomi has a Ring doorbell and wants to know if she can back up the video and images to her NAS. By the time she gets the notification from it, the person who rang the doorbell is already gone. Leo says she could Live View it. Leo suspects that Naomi may have a bandwidth issue with her ISP. Ring goes to the Ring servers before contacting her, so there's probably latency in her network due to being in a rural area. Leo says a motion sensor camera could ping her faster than Ring.

(Disclaimer: Ring is a sponsor)

Why can't I play DVDs on my Windows 7 computer?

Episode 1470

David from Los Angeles, CA
DVDs

David has high end 17" Windows 7 laptop, but he's having issues with his optical drive after being reinstalled. Leo says there's a bunch of things it could be, like a damaged player or a broken cable. Since it happened after a reinstall, it may have missed the DVD player driver. David should check his device manager to see if Windows sees it. If it's not in there, then he'll need to install the drivers in order to use that player.

Can I get a laptop with a DVD player built in?

Episode 1469

John from Montana
Lenovo 17" laptop

John wants a device for watching DVDs with a large screen. Leo says that optical media have disappeared and large screen laptops are rare as well. Dell and Lenovo still sell 17" laptops, though. But he won't have a DVD drive with it. He could get an external DVD drive. They're cheap and he can plug it in when he wants it. Leo also recommends getting a larger external monitor. He should just use external peripherals when he wants to watch DVDs. That will give him the best of both worlds.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1469

Dickie D recently bought the MUTE BUTTON after watching a video of it sent in by Mo, a big fan of The Giz Wiz Show. It solves a problem we all have, and that's the need to lower or shut the sound of the TV when the phone rings, or someone shouts to you from another room. Finding the “Mute” button on the typical remote is no easy chore. It's worse if you're getting up in years and you're looking for the “mute” bottom in a darkened room. You need 20/20 eyesight to find that mini mute button. Enter the giant Smash Mute button!

What's the best computer for an elderly person?

Episode 1469

Bruce from Anaheim, CA
ASUS Chromebook Flip

Bruce just moved into a retirement home and most of the people there aren't very tech savvy. He's trying to find computers for them that will be easy to use and affordable. Leo says that a Chromebook is a great idea. Chromebooks are ideal for email and surfing the web. They're very secure too. They will also work with any web-based email system as well. Leo recommends Gmail for that.

Why can't I sync my iPad to my computer?

Episode 1468

Dave from Lake Tahoe, CA
Apple iPad

Dave's Windows 10 upgrade failed and he had to revert back to Windows 7. It's ten years old and he can't sync his data from his tablet. Leo says it may not be modern enough to recognize the iPad. He'll need iTunes and it probably wants a more recent OS to run that. Windows 7 should be modern enough, though. Dave should back up his data, wipe the drive and reinstall Windows. Then update it, and try again. When he gets iTunes installed again, it should be able to sync. The benefit of reinstalling Windows is that it'll run faster.

Why can't I read my hard drive?

Episode 1468

Jonathan from Long Beach, CA
Western Digital 6TB USB Drive

Jonathan plugged in an external drive but he can't see it on his Mac. It wants it to re-initialize. Leo says it could be a host of things from the drive, to the cable, to the USB port, to even a software error. So he'll have to break it down. First, unplug the drive and plug it into a new port. If he's using a USB hub, try directly into the computer instead. Make sure if it's a powered drive that it's getting power. Jonathan can run Disk Utility on the Mac and see if it sees the drive. If he sees it there, then that means that the drive is starting to fail or the formatting is corrupted.