Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

What's a good hard drive for backup, and webcam for zoom?

AUKEY Webcam

Episode 1722

Gloria from California

Gloria wants a recommendation for a reliable 2TB hard drive for her computer and a web camera for zoom. She's taking a class. Leo says that Seagate makes a really good one, but hard drives are pretty ubiquitous now, and the price is dropping. So you can get two of them and swap them out when you backup your data. Swap them out every other week. Also, rely on a cloud-based backup like iDrive (a sponsor of the radio show.) Ideally, you want 3 copies, 2 kinds of backup formats, one off-site or in the cloud.

What is the best option for extending WiFI range in my house?

eero Mesh Router

Episode 1722

Frank from West Springfield, VA

Frank has never needed a WiFi extender in his home, but his girlfriend's house could use one. So he installed one, but it doesn't seem to be doing much better. Leo says the reason is because an extender has to spend half it's time talking to the router. They can't speak to both devices at the same time. Mesh routers, by contrast, have a dedicated backchannel that is always on, that talks to the router without impeding the bandwidth speed. They can be a bit more expensive depending on how many satellite units you need for the house. 

Should I put solar panels on my roof?

Tesla Energy

Episode 1722

Thomas from Mahtomedi, Minnesota

Thomas is thinking about going solar and wants to know if it's a good idea for where he lives. Leo says there's a great site from Google called Project Sunroof, that you can visit, put in your address, and it will tell you how much sunlight you will get, how much electricity you generate, and how much you can save. It'll also tell you how long it will take before your savings pay off the investment should you decide to buy rather than lease. Leo leases from Tesla Energy.

Is the a smart device that can control my circuit breakers?

Leviton LB120-S 20 Amp Circuit Breaker

Episode 1722

Jeff from Cedarville, CA

Jeff bought some smart plugs to install into his house. Is there anything like that on the breaker side? Leo says that's an interesting idea, but he doesn't know if you'd really want to do that. You have to be very careful what's on your circuit and you wouldn't want to install it yourself. But it's a great idea for making your home smarter and more controllable remotely. Here's one by Leviton.

Sam Abuelsamid and the Road to the Future

Sam Abuelsamid

Episode 1722

Sam joins Leo to talk about the Michigan Connected Corridor. An initiative designed to create transportation infrastructure driven by data from drivers as they travel. The initiative will create a 40-mile corridor between Detroit and Anarbor, which will offer an affordable roadway for autonomous connected vehicles. The infrastructure will also have sensors and internet connectivity, assigning lanes to autonomous vehicles based on capacity. Other vehicles will have access who pay a toll. 

What's a Good Solution for Wifi on the Road?

mifi

Episode 1721

Ken from Ogden, UT

Ken is starting a new business from his truck (he's a truck driver). Leo says it's amazing that he can make that kind of transition and do it from the road so easily. All he really needs to have is an idea and the gumption to make it a reality. There's no better time to do it. But Ken is worried about how consistent the internet access will be on the road since he'll need to access his data in the cloud. And what laptop and modem to buy for it? 

What's a Good Gaming Monitor?

LG

Episode 1721

Patricia from San Bernardino, CA

Christina is looking to get a huge gaming monitor for her nephew. HP or LG 24"? Leo says that it depends on how great an Aunt she wants to be. HP and LG both make videos that are curved and are very popular with gamers. Even some as large as 39". So it doesn't really matter which brand she gets.  24" is a little small, but if the kid likes that size, either would be fine. The key is what refresh rate it has, 120 Hz is good for gaming. And if it's listed as a gaming monitor, it will. And they aren't expensive at $175. The 29" LG is also very popular. $225

The Giz Wiz and the Collapsible Stool

Dick

Episode 1721

Dickie D's gadget of the week is a STOOL!  The Yin Kai Cyber Celebrity – that's the real name, no longer shows up on Amazon, but he found one that seems identical: Gerymu Brand says: Our collapsible stools are very compact and portable. When opened, you can adjust its height between 2.56 and 18 inches. Hand straps and shoulder straps provide two ways to carry. Our Portable telescoping stool each layer has a complete streamlined clasp that provides better stability, and the anti-slip legs on the bottom are safe and reliable. About $27.00.

Why is one Dell laptop slower than another?

Smartbyte

Episode 1720

Paul from Santa Ana, CA

Paul has two Dell Laptops, one with an AMD and one with an Intel i5. Both run at the same speed of 2 GHz with 8GB of RAM and running Windows 10. But the download speeds are vastly different. Leo says that different WiFi chipsets could account for a 20% difference, but not the disparity that Paul is seeing. So something is wrong in the networking stack. 

Is it safe to leave my soundbar on?

Samsung HW-Q60T Soundbar

Episode 1720

Rob from Sylmar, CA

Rob is having an issue with his new Samsung Soundbar and TV. They aren't really compatible. The TV remote can turn on the soundbar, but not turn it off. And the documentation is pretty bad. Leo says that Samsung doesn't expect you to turn off the soundbar at all since it will eventually time itself off. You could try resetting the soundbar back to factory settings and then set it up again. Then leave it on and don't worry about it.