Greg has an old computer that won't boot up from the BIOS. It just stops with numbers and letters. Leo says he's had that problem. Greg should disconnect all of his USB devices except the keyboard. This means he has either a bad USB driver or bad USB device.
Larry has a new Dell desktop with Windows 10. He wants to know how to create a recovery backup. It fails every time when he writes it to USB. He asked Dell, but they say they can't because they don't have recovery disks yet.
Leo says it could be as easy as a bad or unsupported thumb drive. He should try a different thumb drive. If that doesn't work, a third party utility like the EaseUS Windows 10 Migration Utility will do the job.
Doug has been using Magic Jack for his business. Leo says that's a good choice for smaller use, but it's important to remember that VOIP is always dependent on the quality and bandwidth of the internet connection. Also, there's latency as the packets often come out of order and must be reassembled. Leo uses a business solution, RingCentral. But for a sole proprietor, Magic Jack should work fine.
Cynthia plugged her iPhone into her laptop and when she did, it shut down her Mac. She was told that it could do that with a third party USB cable. Leo says it's not likely a compatibility issue, but it could be a short in the cable. What about a message that says "battery needs service?" Leo says that's more likely the issue as batteries do stop charging after about 500 recharge cycles. So Leo believes the shut down was coincidental. Getting a new battery should solve that problem.
Mark has an old PC and his sound card broke. He knows it isn't worth fixing, so he's wondering if there is an external sound card option? Leo says yes! USB sound cards are available, and they are even better for the computer because they don't pick up the fan noise of the computer itself. Mark will want a USB DAC. They range in price from affordable to expensive. Check out the Syba USB Stereo Audio Adapter. It costs just $8!
Peter has an old iPhone with a ton of photos on it that he needs to backup. How can he move them off directly without using iTunes? Leo says there's plenty of ways to skin that cat. All he needs to do is connect via USB and his computer will create a popup of the Windows Image Viewer which will transfer the images directly to his computer. Leo also recommends Picasa for it. He doesn't need iTunes for it, but he will need iTunes for any other data on that phone.
Darla bought a new computer and she sees that her headphone jack also works as a microphone jack. She does an outdoor sports podcast and needs to use her old headsets with it, though. Leo says it's true that new computers use the headphone jack as a mic in as well. This is by far the worst way to get audio into the computer, though. Leo advises using a USB audio interface. It will take any microphone, even professional grade XLR mics, and connect it into an interface that will convert the analog signal into digital data that will be transferred over USB. That will eliminate any RF noise.
Dickie D is back from CES in Vegas and there's one gadget he thought was perfect for the tech guy. It's called the Zolt Laptop Charger Plus, and it's the world's smallest and lightest laptop charger that can charge just about any laptop out there. The Zolt has 3 USB ports built-in that allow it to charge multiple gadgets at the same time.
Brandon got a Google Nexus 5. He tried to plug in his Android phone into his PC but it won't sync -- it only charges. Leo says that his PC isn't loading the USB drivers for it, which is why it's not syncing. Leo says another option is to try a program called AirDroid. It will then connect over Wi-Fi and he won't have that syncing issue. It's a bit slower, but it's a good workaround.
Jason uses a logging app that will automatically add GPS data when he creates an entry. It would take something from an external GPS through a com port, which is obviously something his laptop doesn't have. He found an app that allows for GPS over Bluetooth so he can use the app on his laptop. Most laptops have Bluetooth built-in, but the app is looking for that data from a com port. The chatroom recommends the GlobalSat GPS receiver for $35, and it works via USB. They also make USB to Serial port adapters.