Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

How can I do voice dictation on my desktop?

Dragon Naturally Speaking

Episode 1533

Gayle from Covina, CA

Gayle wants to know if she can do dictation with her desktop. Leo says that she can plug in a headset or microphone to the audio jack in the back of the computer. Windows 10 has Cortana that can handle the dictation. She can also get software like Dragon Naturally Speaking, but these days, voice dictation is available as part of Windows OS. It's not perfect, but it works pretty well.

How can I prevent my router from dropping my internet connection?

DNS Benchmark

Episode 1533

Brian from Mission Viejo, CA

Brian has an Apple Airport and every time he gets on the network with his phone, the internet drops out. Leo says to check his DNS to see if it's properly configured. That can be found in network settings. He should also try rebooting his router. Steve Gibson has a tool called DNS Benchmark at GRC.com which can tell him how well his DNS settings are responding.

What wireless headphones should I get for watching TV?

Sennheiser RS 120 II

Episode 1532

Seth from Long Beach, CA

Both of Seth's parents are now hard of hearing and they need headphones to watch TV. Is there a system that can do it for them? Leo says that hearing aids now can pair to the TV. So if they need a hearing aid, that's a good feature to get. But if he wants headphones, Leo got his mother a pair of Sennheiser wireless RF headphones. They work much better than Bluetooth.

Is there a GPS device for hiking to keep track of someone who gets lost?

SPOT

Episode 1532

Robert from Mira Mesa, CA

Robert is looking for a personal GPS tag for hiking and backpacking that can be used to locate someone in case of an emergency, but isn't tied to cellular. Leo says they are a very popular device for hikers, and the technology is called SPOT. It does GPS with their own satellite network, shows waypoints on Google Maps, and will alert family. Robert can check it out at FindMeSpot.com. There are also watches that use SPOT. Garmin's InReach has its own network.

Leo Tries the Magic Leap VR Headset

Episode 1532

Leo had a chance to try out the "Creator's edition" of the new Magic Leap Virtual Reality Headset. Magic Leap has raised $1.4 Billion to create this VR headset. Leo says that selling a developer's edition is the new Beta. People buy them, and then shake out the bugs. Leo says that while VR is initially a wow experience, over time, you start to get sick to your stomach. And while Magic Leap was interesting, Leo says we are still in the infant days of virtual and augmented reality.

Should I buy a mesh router?

Netgear Nighthawk

Episode 1532

Dave from Binghampton, NY

Dave wants to replace his Airport Extreme with a mesh router. Leo says that's a good idea since Apple has stopped making routers. Mesh routers are good because they are always updated and provide great coverage around a large house. The downside is that to get additional features and updates, he'll have to pay around $100 a year for that support.

Can I add RAM to my Windows Surface laptop?

Surface Laptop

Episode 1531

Carmine from California

Carmine wants to buy the Windows Surface Book 2, and wants to know if he can buy after market RAM and install it. Leo says he should be able to. It's a standard laptop. He can go to Crucial.com and enter in the model. It'll tell him if RAM is available and how to install it. Micron.com is also a good idea. He can check out the Windows Surface Reddit too.

How can I stop robocalls?

woman on phone

Episode 1531

Jessie from Durango, CO

Jessie keeps getting robocalls and the numbers they get are either disconnected or bogus. Leo says that they are bogus, and according to a recent survey, by 2019, 80% of cell phone calls will be robocalls. And nobody knows what to do about it. Most are from overseas. They forge the caller ID, and will even do it with the recipient's area code and prefix. The reality is, legitimate companies will not be calling. They'll be using mail. Jessie can log her number into the DoNotCall.Gov database.