Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

What laptop should I buy my son?

Chromebook

Episode 1567

Dan from New Jersey

Dan needs to buy his son a new laptop and wants to know whether a MacBook Air or Chromebook. He'll be traveling to China for an exchange student program. He also wants to maintain his social media. Leo says that either one will work, but he should be sure to obey the rules and regulations while being a guest there. Don't try and get around China's censorship by using a VPN. That's just asking for trouble. Email is not blocked, so setting up an email publishing scheme is best.

Can I wire my laptop directly into my car system?

Episode 1566

Jeff from Los Angeles, CA

Jeff has a laptop where the batteries are worn out. He'd like to remove the batteries and connect it directly to his car electrical system. His card is 12v. Leo says you can easily get an inverter to plug it directly in. That's the easiest solution. But that's going from DC to AC and back to DC, which seems a bit silly. But since your car is 12v and the laptop takes 11.1v, it could perhaps be done.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1566

This week's gadget is ... well, interesting. It's a jock strap for your TV! It's for anybody who enjoys sports on TV, but find the Score Ticker at the bottom of the screen on sports channels annoying. So the TV Jock Strap masks it out so you won't see scores of recorded games you haven't watched yet. The company says it fits flat screens up to 75" diagonal. The TV Jockstrap is a 2” wide stretchy black fabric that attaches using a plastic belt buckle. There wasn't too much stretchy fabric left once it was on my 50” TV, so if you do have a 75” model, it will probably be stretched to the max.

Can I run Linux on an old Mac Pro?

Episode 1566

Myron from Minnepolis, MN

Myron's Windows machine will automatically input his last pass password when he goes to log into something in Chrome. Leo says that's not good. Last Pass had to change how extensions work, recently, because browsers had changed the plugin architecture to make them more secure. But it may be that LastPass is getting confused. Leo recommends logging out of your Chrome browser, delete the last pass extension. Then reboot the app and download a new copy of the Last Pass extension. LastPass has a new version and that should solve it.

Should I get an iPad to replace my laptop?

Episode 1566

Glenda from Costa Mesa, CA

Glenda has an Asus Gaming computer and it constantly slows down, and is too heavy. So she wants something lighter, like a Mac Air or iPad Air size, that she can use Microsoft Office with. Leo says that there are versions of Office for the iPad, so going with an iPad Pro could be a good option. You can get them with a keypad and it's just like a laptop (costs the same as a laptop, too). Microsoft's Surface tablets are also a good option if you still need to use Windows. But if you don't, then the iPad Pro is worth looking at.

Why is data being corrupted on my NAS?

Episode 1566

Steve from St. Louis, MO

Steve is a professional photographer and he stores his raw images on a NAS (network attached storage) with Mac File sharing. But he's finding that about 10% of his images are corrupted. Leo says that there's two ways this can happen. 1) the data is corrupted on the disk. Is the file corruption happening locally? Or on the network. It helps to test if it happens the same every time. That means the data is getting corrupted on the NAS itself. If it was a network corruption, it would happen intermittently and randomly.

Can I use Echo to turn on my lights?

Amazon Echo

Episode 1565

Henry from Prescott Valley, AZ

Henry has a few Amazon Echos and wants to know if he can turn his lights on/off with them. Leo says absolutely, but he'll need smart home lights that support the Echo. Philips Hue is one brand. But there are plenty of others out there. He can also get smart switches that enable him to turn things off with his voice. He should search Amazon for "works with Alexa" devices.