Is there a way to connect my Samsung Galaxy S4 to the car without having to use bluetooth?

Samsung Galaxy S4

Episode 997

Randy from Richmond, VA

Randy listens to TWiT podcasts with his Droid connected to his car dock, but his Samsung Galaxy S4 will not pass audio from the phone to the computer without bluetooth. Leo says that's odd that they've taken those features out. He suspects it's because of Bluetooth that they've taken it out via the USB port. An audio jack plugged into the dock could work, but he'll have an extra wire running.

Why do I get an error whenever I try programming my ham radio through my computer?

Episode 994

Gordon from Tarzana, CA

Gordon has a BaoFeng UV5R+ ham radio, and it keeps displaying an error whenever he tries programming the radio through Windows. Leo says that less expensive ham radios don't have an ideal user interface to allow the user to troubleshoot easily. Leo suspects that the USB cable is broken, but he also suggests making sure the drivers for Windows are installed first.

The Chatroom says it's the "prolific driver" that's causing the connection. They recommend using Chirp on Windows to find it.

Why does my keyboard type numbers and letters on its own?

Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard

Episode 984

Trish from Chino Hills, CA

Trish's keyboard seems to randomly type letters and numbers when she's not touching it. Leo suspects the keyboard could have shorted out or the USB port it's plugged into is shorting out. She should try a different keyboard. If that doesn't fix it, then that would point to a different problem. Leo also suspects that the computer may still be paired to the wireless keyboard and her daughter is playing with it, causing the issue!

Why won't my computer recognize the bootable USB key I created?

Episode 965

Robert from Newhall, CA

Robert wanted to create a bootable operating system on his USB key, but his computer won't recognize it. Leo says it may not be formatted properly. He should go into the BIOS and make sure USB is an option to boot to in the boot order. The Chatroom suggests holding down ALT+O when booting up and it'll tell the computer to look at the USB, but Leo hasn't done that so he can't vouch for it.

My car has an iPod dock, but is there another way I can connect my Samsung phone?

Belkin Bluetooth Car Kit

Episode 960

Dave from Tustin, CA

Leo says if the head unit in the car has bluetooth, that would be the easiest way. Dave says his car does not have bluetooth, though.

Another possibility is to connect the phone via USB instead. Or he could try getting an adapter, like this one from Belkin, to go from the iPod 30 pin connector to USB.

Dick DeBartolo

Episode 957

This week's gadget is the NewerTech Power2U USB outlet. What it does is that in addition to the AC plug outlets, the Power2U adds two convenient USB charging ports. The new version has safety for kids, has been boosted to 20Amp version for commercial use. Leo just installed them and he says they were easy to install and work really well! Note though - The Power2U USB device requires the 16 cubic inch electrical box. But they're only $15 at Amazon.

Why does my internet stop working when I plug in my flash drive?

Episode 946

Zach from Anendale, KS

Autorun software on the USB key may be the culprit. There was a virus that got transmitted via USB keys running autorun, and if Zach's USB key has autorun, it may be wreaking havoc with his Internet connection.

It could also be that the USB driver is corrupted and it could be affecting the network stack. If it's powered and drawing current from the system, his power supply may not be powerful enough to handle it. Try using a USB connection that doesn't draw power and see if there's still a problem. There could also be a motherboard issue at work.

Why is my Mac Mini taking so long to boot up? (Part 2)

Apple Mac Mini

Episode 940

Chris from Pittsburgh, PA

Chris is wondering whether or not the USB external drive connected to his Mac Mini is causing it to boot up so slow. Leo says it probably is, and he recommends choosing StartUp disk in the settings so it'll boot up directly by the SSD. He should also try disconnecting the USB drives before booting up. The Mac Mini may be scanning the drives to mount them first when booting up.