Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

How can I upload my pictures during a trip?

Episode 1663

Katie from California

Katie is going on a Nile cruise and African photo safari. She wants to upload her photos every night. She doesn't want to bring a laptop. Leo says that Katie can use an iPad with a media dongle to plug in her memory cards to. But Panasonic also has an app that you can use to connect to the camera via WiFi and move the photos over wirelessly. But you won't be able to do much photo editing. Leo brings his laptop with Adobe Lightroom on it, and plenty of memory cards. That way you keep the cards as the originals, and upload for backup. You merely just swap out the cards every day.

Is my computer dead?

Dell HP G62

Episode 1662

John from Uttaca, NY

John has an old HP G62 laptop running Linux. He's had to turn it off by unplugging it. A few months ago he started getting a blue screen and now nothing happens. Leo says that a ten-year-old computer is REALLY old. So chances are, the motherboard died. But if it was updating firmware at the time, then chances are the computer has "bricked" and is dead. If you like that laptop, you can get one on eBay for around $20-40. Is the hard drive OK? Leo says probably. You can get an external container to put it in and use it as another drive for another computer. 

What photo scanner should I buy?

Epson FastFoto FF-640

Episode 1662

Michael from Detroit, MI

Michael is buying an all in one printer, and he's not going to do a lot of printing. He's doing more scanning of photographs. He's looking at sending the negatives and slides to a service. But it seems there are just too many models to choose from. What should he get? Leo recommends to check out Amazon reviews. They are always your friend. The Wirecutter is very good for recommendations, as is PC Magazine. The Epson Fast Photo (Epson is a sponsor of the TWiT Network) is expensive at $600, but if you have thousands of photos to scan, it's a good one to go with.

Why does my laptop screen go black?

Dell Inspiron 14 5000 2-in-1

Episode 1662

Jose from California

Jose has a Dell 2 in 1 laptop and the screen goes intermittently black. Leo says that it's a common issue with 2 in 1s because the ribbon cable gets "pinched" as it gets bent back and forth. Eventually, it frays and breaks. The good news is, that it's an easy fix to replace it. Before you do that though, update your video drivers. That could fix it as the drivers can get corrupted. But if the problem persists, it's a hardware issue.

Why does my streaming stall?

WiFi

Episode 1662

Steven from San Antonio, TX

Steven has a wireless HDMI connection to stream from his computer to his TV. Some times it "hiccups" or even crashes. Leo says that wireless HDMI really isn't that good. What's happening is that the video packets are being dropped and the TV just moves forward if he doesn't get it all in order. So it may wait until it gets the latent packet, or just move on without it. That's why streaming tends to buffer up to 30 seconds in order to wait for a dropped packet. When the buffer drops to zero, it'll rebuffer to get back ahead.

Why can't my computer read the hard drive?

Bluescreen of Death :(

Episode 1662

Ed from San Diego, CA

Ed's son is getting a bluescreen of death, and when he reboots, it's not reading the disk. Leo says it's obviously a disk failure caused by a failed or corrupted sector. It's the most common failure point on a computer. The good news is that you may be able to recover the disk using SpinRite. But for the cost of that program, you can simply buy a new hard drive. So if you have nothing critical on the drive, replace the hard drive. You can get a larger one for cheaper. And while you're at it, get a solid-state drive. It'll make the computer much faster.

The Giz Wiz Gets Synched

Dick

Episode 1661

Most folks know the iPhone 11 & 11 Pro take spectacular photos, but, being of the phone, the flash is limited. This new Anker MFi flash accessory uses the Lightning connector for tight synchronization with the iPhone rear camera & works with the native camera app and 3rd party apps. Anker says it helps illuminate objects at 2x the range and 4x brightness. It ships with a detachable diffuser and a soft carry pouch. 10,000 shots per charge. Enables off-axis and direct fill flash lighting effects both with and without the detachable diffuser.

How can I get a text message when my solar power system goes down?

Solar Power System

Episode 1660

Scott from Laguna Hills, California

Scott has solar power and occasionally, the system will pop a breaker and go off. But he won't get notified that it's happened, even though he has an IP based system. How can he set up a text message that can notify him when it happens?  Leo says if it was public, you could use a service like If This, Then That, to send you a text. But since it's private, then you may have to create your system using an old computer or raspberry pi to run a process that would ping your system to see if it's up and running.