Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

How can I keep my old laptop from a blue screen of death?

Blue Screen of Death :(

Episode 1746

Daniel from Chatsworth, CA

Daniel's Thinkpad runs Windows XP and is experiencing the blue screen of death, or BSoD for short. Daniel can use the original install discs and go into recovery mode. That can fix anything that is going wrong. That will run the Windows System File Checker and replace any system files that are damaged. But it may also be a hard drive that is starting to fail. It would be a good idea to replace the hard drive. Luckily, it's easy to do with that Thinkpad.

Apple announces new Macs with Home Grown ARM based Chips

Apple's M1 Chip

Episode 1746

This past week at their "One More Thing" event, Apple officially announced three new Macs containing their new in-house Apple Silicon processors. The new M1 processor promises high performance at low power. Apple announced three new models, two laptops and one desktop. The models include a new 13" Mac Air, new 13" Macbook Pro, and a new generation Mac Mini. But this doesn't mean that Apple has completely abandoned the Intel platform.

The Giz Wiz and the Hot Mouse House

Dick

Episode 1745

Did we say Heated Mice Houses? The “Claw” Palotix USB Heated Mouse Pad/Hand Warmer is said to keep your hands warm and cozy, as it heats up to 113 degrees. There's an integrated wrist pad for comfort and support. The heating element uses computer USB Power, or a 5V phone charger or even a portable power bank. As of 11/13/20, you could get it for under $10 by using a 'click for $8 off' button. 

How Can I Make My C Drive Larger?

 disk management tool.

Episode 1745

Gary from Covina, CA

John partitioned his hard drive and he's noticed that his C drive has less room than his D drive. Leo says that is likely because Windows and other apps are filling up that C drive. John could move the data to his D drive and that would free up space. He could repartition or undo the partition. Depending on how the D drive is laid out, he can hit Windows + X and open the disk management tool. Click on the C partition and expand it. If that doesn't work, EaseUS has a disk partitioner.

What Mics Do I Need for Podcasting and Voiceovers?

Heil PR40

Episode 1745

Vidac from Montenegro

Vidac wants to build a podcast/voiceover studio in his den. Does Yamaha make good soundboards for around $500? Leo says Yamaha makes good gear. It's probably overkill, but a good choice. Vidac is also using Shure SM58s. Leo says that they are great mics, and practically indestructible. A great, economic choice at about $150. But he'll also need some form of a digital interface in order to get the mixed feed into the computer. Vidac also uses a Shure SM7B. Leo says that is a condenser mic that requires phantom power. But the board should provide that.

Apple Announces Silicon Macs, but Big Sur has Privacy Concerns

m1

Episode 1745

Apple announced their M1 based Apple Silicon Mac laptops this week, including the 13" Mac Air, 13" Mac Pro, and the Mac Mini. Leo says it's the first generation, and that's causing many to wait. Leo also says that RAM is limited to 16GB because it has been wired into the logic board. Called Unified Memory Architecture, it's known to be faster. So maybe we don't need as much RAM moving forward as we think.

Is there a smart assistant that doesn't rely on voice activation?

Google's Action Blocks

Episode 1744

Claire from Boston, MA

Claire would like to know if there's a mechanism for her brother in law that will enable him to communicate with noises he can make. He's very limited. Leo says that Google has done a lot of work on voice recognition through its Google Assistants. But it may be very customized. Leo recommends going to the local Center for Independent Living and consult with an accessibility expert. They would know what can be done with a custom solution.

Is the Dell XPS Special Edition a good laptop for photography?

Dell XPS Special Edition

Episode 1744

Mark from Redondo Beach, CA

Richard is a photographer and is looking at a Dell XPS Special Edition laptop to replace his old machine. He is concerned with heat and throttling since it's an i9 machine. Leo says that many people think multiple core machines like the i9 will be faster. That is often not the case. In fact, multiple cores can slow a machine down if the software isn't designed to use them. But apps like Photoshop are designed to benefit from it. Just get as much RAM as you can afford, especially when using large images. The Dell XPS is a nice laptop though!