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.
Mark bought a Dell Desktop with Windows 8 and downgraded to Windows 7. But his USB 3 hard drive isn't working right when waking from sleep, even after he's re-installed the drivers. He has to reboot the computer to get it to read the hard drive.
Leo says to check out the USB Root Hub. He should make sure that the checkbox "wake from sleep" is enabled (checked). Otherwise it won't wake up.
Chris wants to get some data off an old Windows 98 machine, but doesn't know how to do it. Leo says to pull the drive out of the computer and get a Universal Drive Adapter. Then he can essentially turn the drive into a USB drive, plug it in to his new computer via USB and pull the data off it.
Matthew has an 11" Asus T100 and he wants to get a smaller tablet. He wants it to work with an inspection camera. He hates Windows 8. Leo says that's no surprise. But if the camera comes with software, then he may be limited. If it's just a generic USB plugin, he may still be stuck. Some tablet's USB plugs only work for charging. He'll need a tablet with a USB plug supported for OTG or "on-the-go" options.