Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Why can't I sync my phone to my Ford?

Episode 1816

Robert from Maine

Robert has a 2015 Ford Edge and he's having issues syncing a new copy of his contacts on his phone to Ford Sync. Leo says that it should automatically. What you can do is go to Settings. Phone settings.Download. Download now. Check your manual. But sometimes the Android phones can become incompatible. So it may be that Android has broken the connectivity. You can also check with Ford for an update.

Why is my Fitbit so inaccurate?

Episode 1816

Robert from Beaumont, TX

Robert is having issues with his FitBit reading correctly. He hears that it may be due to his tattoos. Is that true? Leo says it is a known problem with people who have tattoos on their wrist. Tattoos can cause the red light used to read your blood flow and heart rate to be inaccurate. There's a ring, called the Aura, or the Motiv, that can not only do the same, but also track your sleep. Not cheap at around $200, but it's an option.

Why are there streaks on my laptop screen?

Episode 1815

Frank from San Diego, CA

Frank's laptop screen has color streaks that go away over time. Leo says that's likely an indication of a failing ribbon cable. But it may also be a cold solder that has to warm up before there's a solid connection. It's probably on the mother board, where the video card is. One way to test is to power down, and let it cool down. Then hold down the D key before powering up.  If you see the streaks again, then it's definitely a hardware issue. Fortunately, if it's the ribbon cable, it's a cheap fix.

The Giz Wiz gets wired up

Episode 1815

This week's gadget is ideal if your home has terrible wifi. It may be time to go wired. Dick has that problem at his apartment and the TP-Link Wireless Access Point TL-WA901N | 2.4Ghz N450 model was recommended by Leo to solve the problem. The company says: Designed to establish or expand a scalable high-speed wireless N network or to connect an Ethernet-enabled device such as a game console, digital media adapter, printer, or network-attached storage device to a wireless network. Supports Client, Multi-SSID, Range Extender, and AP operation modes to enable various wireless applications.

Why won't my old Kindle work?

Episode 1815

Dave from Los Angeles, CA

Dave has an older 1st generation Kindle that won't work anymore on cellular. What gives? Leo says that it isn't Amazon's fault, actually. Phone companies are shutting down the old 3G towers now, to make room for 5G. As such, any Kindle made before 2017 will not work on the cellular network. But it does still support WiFi. So look in the settings for your WiFi and connect up. If it doesn't, you may be out of luck. But you can connect it via USB and copy all your books onto it from your computer. It's clunky, but it will work.

Can I just swap out my TV in my home theater system?

Episode 1815

Laura from Goldendale, WA

Laura has a 17x20 living room with a 10 year old TV that she wants to replace. What size should she get? She's looking at the Samsung QNED QN65Q. Will her speakers be plug in play to support them? Leo says yes. Whatever, sources they have in the receiver, will be supported. You just want to be sure to plug the HDMI cable into the port that says "ARC." That's the Audio Return Channel, and it'll keep the audio in sync. If your TV doesn't support ARC, then you need to opt for the optical connection, and some TVs are dropping that. If that's the case, you may need a new AVR. 

Angstrom is the new word for processor size.

Episode 1815

"Ängström" is a word that represents 1/10,000,000,000,000th of a centimeter. That's pretty small. Why do we care? Leo says it's because it's the new measure of the latest processors, known as 20A processors. So when you upgrade your PC, you're going to be hearing that term. The more transitors you can get on a processor, the more powerful they become. Up until recently, processors had been plateaued due to Moore's Law (which stated that transitors would double every 18 months). That had caused chip makers to put multiple processors on a chip. But we're at the end of Moore's Law now.

How Can I Restore my Epson Printer?

Epson Printer

Episode 1814

Tara from Bainbridge Island, WA

Tara has updated her printer firmware after ignoring the updates for a while. Now it's totally inoperable. What can she do? Leo says that a firmware update will rewrite the software on the physical chips of the printer. So you'd have to reboot those chips to roll it back. That's a challenge. Sometimes, if you plug in your printer to the computer, you can reset it through the Epson software. But a call to Epson support is probably in order at this point.