Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Can the Amazon Echo call 911?

Episode 1484

Maurice from Florida
Amazon Echo Connect

Maurice says that Echo is a great idea, and Amazon's $35 Connect box makes it possible to call 911 in emergency situations. Rich says that Echo is designed to not dial 911 because the infrastructure isn't set up for it yet. That's why the optional connect box is a good idea until they get it figured out. But it also has to do with location services for 911. It has to know where the emergency really is.

Why does my printer go offline in Windows?

Episode 1484

Jeff from Lakewood, CA
Brother MFC-J880DW

Jeff has a Brother printer, and every few hours, it loses its connection to his network and he has to sign back in. Rich says that the printer may go to sleep and if he presses the button on the printer, it wakes it up and the computer finds it again. But Jeff says he has tried it, and Windows still says it's offline. Jeff says it may also need a firmware update.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1483

Dickie D is back. This time with a selfie stick with it's own built in LED light. The Mpow Selfie Stick provides a wide-angle LED light with low, medium and high brightness adjustment modes. In the back there's a convenient mirror so you can see how you look before the camera goes off. Built into the handle is a 1500mAh battery. It's charged via amicro USB charger cable which may not get in the package. But any tech person has a lot of them laying around. The company says the battery provides about 72 hours of LED fill light time, 30 hours of Bluetooth connection time on a single charge.

How can I rip all my DVDs and play them on a network?

Episode 1483

James from Las Vegas, NV
Synology DiskStation

James has 300 DVDs that he'd like to put on a media server and watch using Amazon Alexa to launch them. Rich says that the first thing James would need to do is "rip" them to a hard drive. He can use a combination of HandBrake and VLC Media Client to get them into digital files. Then he can put them on a network attached storage device.

Why does my printer reject a refilled cartridge?

Episode 1483

Felicia from San Diego, CA
Counterfeit Cartridge Detected

Felicia had her HP printer ink cartridges refilled, and now her printer won't accept the cartridge. It just says it's incompatible or counterfeit. What can she do? Rich says that printers are cheap because they can make up the cost on ink. Rich also thinks, however, that the contacts on the cartridges may just be dirty. So she should clean them with some distilled water and a coffee filter. Nothing that has threads to it. She should give it a good wiping down and try again. It should be able to see it then.

Should I buy an Apple TV?

Episode 1483

Anthony from Carpenteria, CA
Apple TV

Anthony wants to know what the advantage is of getting an Apple TV if all the modern TVs are so-called "smart" TVs? Rich says that apps are always better, and updated more on a dedicated device like the Apple TV. Smart TVs, on the other hand, rarely get updated, if ever. TV makers are in the TV business, not the app development business. So Apple TV has that advantage.

How can I get data off a bad hard drive?

Episode 1483

Daryl from Silverado Canyon, CA
Hard drives

Daryl has a hard drive that has bad bearings, and he needs to get the data off it. He's tried to have the board on the drive replaced, but now it says it needs the original board or ROM. How can he get the data off this bad drive? Rich says that at this point, only a data recovery service like DriveSavers will be able to get the data off it, and it's not cheap. Rich says that it's odd that the data company would require him to get the proper materials. He recommends going to another company.