Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

What laptop should I get?

Episode 1184

Dana from Redondo Beach, CA
Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Dana is looking at getting the Blackberry Classic smartphone on T-Mobile, and she wants a new laptop with Windows 7. She's looking at an HP with an Intel Core i7. Are those choices good? Leo says those are good, sure. He's not really a huge HP fan, preferring Dell, Asus, and even Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 instead. The Surface has a great screen, but the keyboard isn't all that great. But it is nice that it can convert from a laptop to tablet.

What laptop should I get my son for college?

Episode 1184

Jerae from Los Angeles, CA
Dell XPS 13

Jerae's son is going away to college and his major is computer science. She wants to get him a computer. But he's on Windows, not Mac. Leo says that in college computer science, most use Macs because the heart of OS X is BSD Unix. So getting a Mac is definitely the way to go for computer science. But there's no reason to not get a Windows machine. Leo likes the new Dell XPS 13. It's thin, light, and has excellent battery life.

What inexpensive computers should I get for my granddaughters in high school?

Episode 1183

Charlotte from San Diego, CA
Samsung Chromebook 2

Charlotte needs to find laptops for each of her twin granddaughters to use in high school. She uses Macs, but they can't afford that. She's doing a ton of research, but she's having trouble figuring out what to do. Leo recommends a Google Chromebook for school work. They're very inexpensive, and they don't get viruses. And if one gets lost or damaged, it won't be the end of the world.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1183

This week's gadget from Dickie D is the Lenovo ThinkPad STACK. it's a modular computer accessory stack that provides with a 2x2 watt Bluetooth speaker with noise-canceling microphone, a dual port 10,000 mAh power bank that can simultaneously charge two USB-equipped devices, mobile storage via a 1TB USB 3.0 HDD and an access point that Lenovo says provides stable and fast WiFi anywhere.They connect magnetically and pass power and data through them. The entire STACK weighs 1.9 pounds, but you may not need to carry all 4 devices at any one time.

Can I get rid of OS X and just run Windows in Boot Camp?

Episode 1183

Troy from Morton, WA
Apple iMac

Troy has been trying out Windows 10 on his iMac and he really likes it. He's wondering if he can dump OS X completely and just run Windows through Boot Camp. Leo's been running it virtually and he says that's the best way to run it. Boot Camp just provides drivers to run Windows on the Mac. Troy could in theory delete the Mac partition, but Leo recommends keeping it because it'll update the drivers. He can make the partition smaller, though. If he's only going to get Windows, Leo suggests a Windows PC.

Boeing's New 787 Airline Requires a Reboot Every 248 Days

Episode 1183

Discovering a flaw in the computerized electrical system, Boeing has announced that their new 787 Dreamliner must be rebooted every 248 days or face a catastrophic failure that could cause the plane to crash. The flaw is wrapped around it's 32 bit operating system that can reset it's values to zero after a set time, causing the electrical system to simply shut off, which could cause the plane to fall from the sky. So until they can write a software patch to repair it, Boeing is just telling airlines to reboot their planes every 248 days.

How can I recover my dead hard drive?

Chris from Camarillo, CA

Episode 1182

Chris hard drive is dead and he needs to get the data off it. Leo says that you can go to Drive Savers, they take apart the drive in a clean room and can then rebuild it so you can get the data off, but it's VERY expensive. Leo says that's why you need to backup all the time. Because hard drives can, and will crash. But a good computer geek may be able to coax that hard drive back to life long enough to get the data off if there's a soft failure. But it's a hardware issue, like a bad circuit board, DriveSavers is your only hope.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1182

Dick DeBartolo

With the release of the new trailer for the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie, Dickie D thought it would be fun to highlight some cool Star Wars themed gadgets for the kitchen.

Star Wars: BBQ Tongs: Vader's Lightsaber. Bring the Dark Side to your BBQ with Lord Vader’s very own BBQ tongs! Retail price around $40. Available in retailers such as: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, F.Y.E., Hastings, Hot Topic, and Thinkgeek.

Do I need antivirus software for Windows 8?

James from Fullerton, CA

Episode 1182

James has a Sony Vaio with Windows 8 and wants to know if he needs antivirus software. Leo says no. Windows 8 has its own security and antivirus, called Microsoft Defender (or Security Essentials for older Windows programs) that works really well. He can turn up the security in Internet Explorer, but Leo recommends using Google Chrome which is far more secure. Leo also recommends turning on automatic updates. James should also be using a router rather than directly connecting to the modem. But all the security in the world cannot protect the user from their own behavior.

Why does my laptop freeze up?

Jane from Redding, PA

Episode 1181

Jane's laptop consistently freezes up when she's doing things. Can that be caused by the battery? Leo says one way to test it is to remove the battery and plug it in to the AC adapter. If that resolves the issue, then it probably is the battery. But the battery is one of those that either works or doesn't work at all. It could be the power supply that is failing.