Ann complains that her iPhone won't charge in her car anymore. She gets a message saying "accessory not supported." Rich suspects that the port in her mobile device could be a bit dirty and blowing it out could help improve the connection. But it could also be time to get a new cable. They do stop working after a while and that message usually indicates a degrading connection. For the fastest, go with a USB-C to Lightning cable.
Carmine has an HP Spectre laptop, but his USB-C connector won't power the laptop using his OtherWorld Computing adapter. Leo says that he's supposed to be able to with this new model. It's a data port as well as a power port, and so it may be an authorization issue. Leo says that he may want to try the HP power dongle. He'll also want to be sure he's getting enough power through the Type-C connector. There may not be enough through the OWC, and the laptop may think it's just a data connector.
Johnny picked up a Windows Surface Go tablet, which Leo calls the cutest computer ever. It's 9.7" with Keyboard and Pen, and USB charging. But Johnny got a charging adapter for it that bricked the computer. Leo says to never buy a third party charger unless he's sure it's a legitimate product. Amazon doesn't police their third party sellers very well, and a lot of them are either counterfeit or very cheaply made.
Brian would like to get a portable computer monitor. Leo says that Asus has an amazing portable 15" LCD monitor called the Zen Screen. It connects over USB Type-C, it has a 1080p resolution and has great colors. It costs about $235. Asus also has a USB 3 version for about $50 less.
Brian runs an external Thunderbolt 2 drive and Parallels to dual boot into Windows. He upgraded his SSD, which works on his laptop, but it won't attach to his Mac Mini. How can he adapt it? Leo says that the Thunderbolt 3 connector is the same as the USB-C connector. But that doesn't mean it has the Thunderbolt controller built in. So he may need to get a Thunderbolt 3 external enclosure to use it, but it's not cheap. He could use a Type A USB 3.1 data cable connector to the Type-C drive and he should get full throughput.
Alan wants to know if all USB-C cables are created equal. Leo says they aren't. In fact, some cheaper models may end up bricking his phone! So he'll have to be careful. Type C cables are better built, and they also transfer data. In the end, he'll get what he pays for. Leo recommends braided cables. They last a lot longer and are about $10. Leo likes Anker. Alan should follow Benson Leung. He is really into testing cables.
Mike is looking for a dock for his MacBook Pro since it only has the one USB-C connector. Leo says that he uses one from Other World Computing. Apple has confused everything with USB-C because it can connect to Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3, and it really doesn't specify what works and what doesn't. On top of that, there's only one port.
David bought a new HP convertible laptop, and HP has made it so he can't use third party charging systems through the USB C port. Leo says that's anticompetitive, and HP is one of the few companies that does it. It just makes people angry that they are locked into using proprietary accessories with a standard open source port.
Leo suspects that maybe it's just an issue of needing more wattage since he can charge with it while the computer is turned off.
Rowan wonders if USB thumb drives are becoming obsolete like so many other data drives before it. Leo says that no format will last forever, but there's still plenty of life left in USB. We need to keep an eye on how technology progresses and transfer the data over when the time comes, though. Rowan will likely be able to get an adapter for USB-C, which is the current standard. The other thing he can do is use an open source backup, like TAR, which will make the backup easily transferrable. The best way is to go into the cloud, though. He should have both.