Hardware

How can I use my phone to track my things?

Scott from Hisperia, CA

Episode 1344

Scott uses a Windows phone and he can't use a device tracker. So he's looking to get an Android phone to use for it. Would that work without a cell network? Leo says that since it uses bluetooth, it wouldn't need one. Any bluetooth device that runs iOS or Android software will work, but it's limited to about 100 feet. Check out Gear Eye - http://www.doddlenews.com/blogs/kickstarter-geareye-makes-easier-indies-...

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Can I use FreedomPop with my alarm?

Mark from Bakersfield, CA

Episode 1344

Mark hears that FreedomPop is a free service for under 500MB. He's thinking of using it with his home alarm system, but it's ethernet hardwired and he's not sure it will work. Any ideas? Leo says a Wi-Fi Ethernet dongle is a cheap and easy way to do it. Leo says to also look at the fine print, as he seems to remember that FreedomPop doesn't work with burglar alarms from legal reasons. Another option is a CDMA cellular radio interface.

How can I get Windows to finish its update?

Shirley from Venice, CA

Episode 1344

Shirley is having issues with the Windows 10 update that Microsoft forced on her. Now she gets a popup about updates. Leo says updating her system is very important and while she can defer them, she can only do that for so long. Then Windows will force the update. That's a real problem because she could get the update while she's in the middle of something. There is one way around it -- she can set her computer to say she's on metered Wi-Fi so Windows won't force it. She should get the update, though. Scheduling them in the middle of the night is best.

Should I buy a Lenovo laptop?

Episode 1344

Dave from Escondido, CA
Google Pixel

Dave has been Christmas shopping online and he found a great deal on a laptop with 16GB of RAM and dual drives with an SSD and a spinning drive. Leo says it's similar to the Mac Fusion drive, where it has the performance of an SSD and the storage space of a spinning drive. Dave is worried that Lenovo has put malware on it, though. Leo says that it was the Superfish adware, and Lenovo got caught doing that -- twice. They have since learned their lesson. Leo likes the Ideapad and at $749, it's a great deal.

How can I read Kindle eBooks on another device?

Episode 1344

Larry from Meneffee, CA
Amazon Kindle

Larry's wife wants to back up her Kindle eBooks onto an SD card to read on another device. Leo says that Kindle uses MOBI as its file version, and it can only be read by Kindle. She'll need to convert the files to ePub, which is a standard format. Leo likes Calibre for that. If she uses the Kindle app, then it's no problem, and she can just install the MOBI files to that other device. She'll need the folder structure first, so she should download a new book on the new device with the Kindle app.

Why doesn't my iPhone work with my car?

Episode 1343

Mike from Maine
Apple iPhone Family

Mike has an iPhone that he connects to his Subaru. It used to read his text messages, but now it doesn't work. Leo says it's likely been disabled while driving. It could be that the latest version of iOS doesn't support that function by design. The chatroom says that the car software may not have been updated. Leo's more of the mind that Apple disabled those features to guard against distracted driving.

What do you think of the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar?

Episode 1343

Ross from Philadelphia, PA
MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

Ross wants to know Leo's thoughts on the new MacBook Pro. Leo says that the screen is gorgeous, but he still says that the keyboard, while usable, isn't as good as the original one. The huge trackpad is pretty fantastic. He's not thrilled with the USB-C connectors, because he now has to buy dongles to keep using his externals.