Dave wants to know more about the flashing lights box behind Leo. Leo says that computers in the 70s had switches, and the blinking lights would tell you when the software switches were enabled correctly. The irony is that the box behind Leo is run on a Raspberry Pi, which is hundreds of times more powerful than the box it's emulating. We've come a long way since then.
If you are looking to build a new computer and have trouble putting together the right components, visit PC Perspective and look at their hardware leaderboard. Click the tab at the top that says "HW Leaderboard" and check out the low-end, mid-range, high-end, and dream system rundowns. The HW Leaderboard comes with recommendations for the proper processor, motherboard, video card, memory, hard drive. sound card, and power supply to get you started on building the type of PC you want.
Hate it when someone uses says the trigger word "Alexa" when you don't want your Echo device to do anything? The Mute+ is from Smartē could be for you. The idea is to place this device on top of an Amazon Echo, Echo Plus or Echo Dot smart speaker, so you can mute it when you don't want it to react to the trigger words. The company says their proprietary technology temporarily blocks any noise near or far from the smart speakers’ microphones and the lighted privacy timer can be set for up to an hour at a time. Each time you push a button at the top it adds ten minutes.
Doctor Mom may be moving cross country and wants to know a safe way to pack her technology, like her computers and her NAS. Leo says that pulling the drives out and wrapping them separately in bubble map is a good idea. Then she can place them together in a box with plenty of shipping material. But the iMac is tougher because she can't take that out. And then there's the huge screen. Ideally, if she still has the box, she can encase it in that with the original packaging. Otherwise, she'll need to just wrap it judiciously in bubble wrap.
Joy wants to know what firmware is? Leo says that firmware is the software that a computer or device uses to operate its system. It's software that is protected because you need it to run the actual device so that the software can translate instructions that the device understands.
Line and Naver Corp have new Bluetooth-enabled wireless earbuds. While several companies are working on ear-to-ear real-time language translation, Mars is different. How? According to the company, other earbuds require separate mobile devices and earbuds, or two pairs of earbuds. Mars only requires a single pair that can be shared between two people. Using the Naver Papago app, the user assigns a language to each each earbud. From there, two people will be able to have real-time ear-to-ear translation of 10 different languages.
Tim has a friend that developed a program called TV Guardian that removes all the bad words in movies and TV. Rich says that cable is starting to allow more and more profanity, so a device like this can be a good idea.
Sandy has an old Dell computer from 2002. Is it worth keeping? Leo says if it's been in storage for 15 years, it's really not going to do her much good. It could be worth about $25 if she wanted to try and sell it, but it will be a hard one to get rid of because nobody can really use them. The same goes for floppy disk laptops. She won't be able to upgrade it to today's standards, either.
This week's gadget is The LectroFan Sound Machine. It's a White Noise Machines,that can help you get to sleep when you're in a noisy area.Here's how the company describes it: “Lectrofan sound is not just a recording. It has been developed through a proprietary algorithm that dynamically generates unique non-repeating sounds. This steady stream of sound eliminates the distracting looping that is common among many competing brands.” --- The model that was on sale was the LectroFan international model that features plugs for the US, UK and EU.